Thursday, January 22, 2009


AS I find some old posts I am going to add them here. Most of you have read this one.

I couldn't shop at the old corner drug store anymore. Just about everything has been forgotten within the dusty book jackets of what we call history. Of course yesterdays triumphs and tragedies may well be tomorrows' trivia. Who could tell the difference? Walking down these lonely dark streets? Maybe you would find what you were looking for. Maybe you thought that you'd been following your stars then one dark and lonely night, just like this one, you looked up at the clear Texas moonlit night and found that it was none of the above.

After a few blocks the old buildings became busier, trendier, authentic places populated by last years people. I like last years’ people I decided. Maybe I had been wrong, maybe it wasn't dark outside after all, maybe it was just the mere absence of the human spirit. Time passed slowly like rush hour traffic of the mind.

My eyes lowered to the sidewalk, some little things always tend to slip through the cracks in the sidewalk and our souls. I walked in the direction the sun had gone down, once this had been a great neighborhood. About 80 years ago my father had spent a summer working for a Polish man selling vegetables to housewives. The polish guy had a horse and cart and loaded it up with fresh vegetables from the farmers market, then proceeded down the streets and alleys shouting out the produce available. My dad rode a top the cart.

Clothes lines like medieval banners across every backyard as the horse and cart plodded along. My father ran the purchases to the housewives as they wiped their hands on their aprons.

My dad told me the one word the peddler yelled most often. The word was kartofle. It means potato in Polish.

Now 80 years later my fathers oldest son was walking down the same streets, looking no doubt at the same buildings now boarded up clinging to each other for dear life.

The vegetable peddler was gone. The housewives were gone. The clotheslines were gone. My father was gone. All that remained were some trashy vacant lots, a few sad buildings, and an occasional alley leading from nowhere to nowhere.

I paused and looked around the once alive neighborhood. The air turned an almost primordial cold that seemed to come from somebody else's iceage. I peered out at the desolate landscape where every now and then the dull glint of old buried railroad tracks became visible below the dirt like scarred, submerged hard to find veins of a dying junkie.

"Kartofle", I said.

There was no one to hear me except some street person sitting on the steps of a darkened doorway, he just kept his eyes down.

Either he wasn't polish or he didn't want any potatoes.


  1. Kartoffel is also German...

    I still like your stories....

  2. Great story! I always enjoy reading your posts.