Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kindly Recompensating the 'Impossible Man'

In the hot summer of ‘66, while skidding my toy bike in front of Lubber Run ESSO station, I received a flat tire. A man of about the age I am now, was picking up his reworked Chevy, saw my distressed look and kindly handed the shop owner a shiny Kennedy coin for quick patch of my tire.

Joyfully, I biked home to tell ma. She asked if I had thanked the nice man. I had not. So, I hastily pedaled back, shortcutting through the alley, on a mission to thank the kind sir. However, he had already left and sometimes I feel as though I’ve been trying to thank him ever since.

Last year I returned to the shopping center in a dream. I’ve done this on several occasions -both in reality and in dream- revisited this childhood Mecca of bubble gum thoughts, innocent laughter, and playful alley dogs and cats, sometimes with different scenarios playing out in my quest to find and repay that shining knight. Most dreams match reality whereas everything has gone astray; the service station vanished, the wafting donut shop scents now replaced with a hair salon. The 7-11 has disappeared into thin air – with the chronic Cheech & Chong loiterers missing from its ancient facade. I touch the reflective glass of Walt’s old place; where I sometimes received stylish flattop haircuts, and then given a jar of goo, with that photo of a heroic boy and his smiling astronaut haircut -It’s all gone and no one’s talking about it. These distinct images so powerful in my head, yet none of the passerby seem aware of this holographic presence, from forty years ago.

The only unchanged icon from the past is the Lubber Run Amphitheatre, where our family sometimes watched magicians perform astounding slight of hand magic tricks late into the twilight.

In the most recent dream, a new-wave mechanic shop of some sort reappears there. I gape at the shop activity with fascination, which causes a woman grinding down a modern automotive component, to come to a halt, as she steps outside to scowl at me, saying, “What the heck are you gawking at!” I slide into the shop to re-route her onto my aged ‘66 storyquest and about how I never find that elusive man. Then, I awaken to present-day Idaho reality.

~ ~ ~

The next morning is one of the first hot dog days of summer.

The oppressive Ketchum heat is multiplying my numerous work demands into an overwhelming feeling, when suddenly a damsel in distress, calls to say she has run out of gas. I promise my help, figuring that if I skip lunch, I’ll have about twenty minutes to spare. However, the gas station attendant and I notice that whoever last borrowed their container, has so far neglected to return it. The hardware store next-door stocks zero gas cans. Suddenly, my simple task of rescuing a fair maiden has transformed into a much larger test. Every car on the road seems to be taking extra eons, being too darn courteous to let the most lackadaisical of jaywalkers cross the road. I feel stupidly frustrated and try to dig in harder to figure out some way to untwist the crushing heated day into something better.

I hoof it up to always-reliable Chateau Drug Store. There to my sweet delight, I see two gas cans sitting atop the far wall. Grabbing both, I dash back to the gas station, fill one, and then donate the second can, so that the next person, who runs out of gas, won’t have to face this same grinding aggravation. Even though this is kind Ketchum, The attendant is surprised and offers me a hot dog. I take a rain check.

Later, I mull over that old dream again. I feel that I’m a slow learner, at paying back random acts of kindness, but this time I finally got one right and figured a practical answer to the gnawing inside me about finding that impossible man.

Indeed, it feels as though I’ve finally paid - some of the karma allotted to me - back to the service station dream world deities, by probing deep to imagine what kind magic leveling act, needed performed to patch things up.

I wonder what scenario I’ll skid onto, whenever I re-dream about Lubber Run Park Shopping Center.

~ ~ ~

Next time I pass though the old neighborhood, maybe I’ll paste this story to the reflective outer glass of whatever accepting store window, happens to be there for passerby to contemplate. Perhaps a man much like the one, who originally rescued me from the oppressive summer heat forty years ago, will enjoy a reflect like this.

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1 comment:

knicksgrl0917 said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until september...here is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here