Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rt 17 to the Bungalow

Her mother packed too many shoes. Her father packed just what he knew he needed. She packed her coloring book, jacks, kite, and a copy of Nobody's Boy-- a library book. When the taxi picked them up valises were strapped to the top of the cab. Their bags went into an already full trunk. Leaving the Bronx for Route 17 and the Catskills with three people you didn't know meant introductions and different destinations.

Traffic moves in tempo with the sultry temperatures of July. Stop and go  through a landscape that bakes under the weight of cement and bricks. Ancestors of those who baked bricks under a hot Egyptian sun now trek, weighted down with baggage, to the mountains. The stutter of movement, hot air, and proximity of too many people...car sickness. How much longer to the promised land?

Billboards with a picture of a crimson apple  announce how much further to the Red Apple Rest. They began twenty-five miles before the restaurant. It's an oasis after two hours of stop and go and halfway up to hotels and bungalows.

Not quite Eden, but a place to buy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A place to wander in front of candy displays. The taxi driver waits in line to fill up his tank. He's eating a pastrami sandwich.

Her father buys a newspaper. She asks, "Are we almost there?" "Soon," her mother responds.


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