Distant and Isolated Thunderheads – Strapped Into an American Dream

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Distant and isolated thunderheads flashed electricity as we searched for this city park. This journey had become a night mission by the time we reached what appeared to be a park. We saw no indication of what the name or route number might be. It didn’t take us long to discover that Minnesota is famous for losing travelers. We reached Franklin City Park, which was not marked with a sign, and set up camp.

While I was flipping through a palm-size notepad of phone numbers in front of a phone bubble in the small business section of town the following day, a young, pudgy blonde-haired boy slowly rode his bicycle in circles near me on the wide street. I had taken my bike off the back of the camper to pedal the short distance into town, unaware of just how small the town really was.

“What are ya doin’ this afternoon?” asked the boy of maybe ten years as he slowed to a stop with his feet.

He took me by surprise. “What am I doing?” I repeated, giving me time to think of an answer, then wondering why I had to. “Ahh…making phone calls.”

“Do you fish?”

“Not really,” I said, sharing my focus with the conversation and the notepad.

“Well…ya wanna try? I have two poles at home, and you can use one.”

“I think I’m going to have to pass,” I answered. “My wife’s back at our camper.”

“Camper? Where are you camping?”

“At the park.”

“The baseball park?”

“Yes.”

“Oh,” he said. “Franklin’s a nice place. Let’s go ask your wife if you can go fishing.”

“I have things to do back at the camper.” I replied.

Mr. Franklin came armed with one question after another. I couldn’t believe that he would walk up to a total stranger, obviously an out-of-towner, and entrust him to go fishing. I don’t really fish, anyway, but the lonely kid living in the trailer behind the phone bubble wasn’t prepared to take “NO” for an answer.

Three kids rode their bikes past us on the street. “Nice haircut,” he said to one of the bikers, a mischievous grin on his face, but received only a smirk in response. He rode his bike away once the kids passed, but returned while I spoke on the phone, eavesdropping on my conversation, though managing to falsely regurgitate my words.

“You’re going to fifty-eight states?” he asked as I hung up.

“Forty-eight. Can’t make it to Hawaii and Alaska.”

“Why can’t ya go to Hawaii?”

“Because we’re driving a camper and there are no roads.”

“Yes there are,” he objected. “There are ya know.”

Instead of more questions my way, I decided to turn the tables and try to get some information out of a Minnesota child.

“When does winter start around here?” I asked.

“Anytime now,” he answered, after squinting his eyes in thought.

“When does it start to snow?” I asked. “Around Halloween?”

“On Halloween,” he replied with confidence.

“On Halloween?” I asked for verification.

“Yes,” he confirmed. “It starts to snow on Halloween.”

He resumed riding his bike in circles once I convinced him that I wasn’t going fishing. He disappeared but returned a short time later. While I was on the phone, Mr. Franklin began tugging on my shirtsleeve. “Can you untangle my line?” he asked.

When I turned around, he had his fishing pole up to my face, but I motioned with my finger for him to wait with my index finger. Before I hung up, the inquisitive kid vanished, and I pedaled back to the camper uninterrupted.

For more on Strapped into an American Dream and Glenn Maynard visit http://www.squidoo.com/glen-maynard-the-american-dream

 

Review and purchase http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/StrappedIntoAnAmericanDream.html

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