’til midnight…

the old man used to drive through town…past the Rialto movie theater on Calhoun…go by bars where he used to drink at ’til the wee hours back in his youth…over at the mall he’d park on cool Fall nights and listen to jazz on the local public radio station…just long ‘nough to calm him down…then he’d get back to drivin’…out into the county where corn fields were startin’ to look brown….and old barns stood with chipped away paints of red…gray…and white…

he’d go out to the interstate and let her fly…gettin’ the old Ford up to 75…80…while headlights beamed and orange cigarette butts danced cross the road…sometimes pop would drive as far as Indy just to get down there and drive back home…

dad would be gone for hours…no-one ever asked any questions…house payments were made…bills were paid…that’s all momma cared ’bout…a roof over our heads forever and ever Amen…isn’t that what all mom’s worry ’bout…safe and secure…not happy or thrilled with life…just safe…

the old man pulled in ’round midnight when the sky was black and the moon lay in wait…I could hear him shut the door on the truck and tread through the gravel driveway only to open the door to the kitchen where he’d find a plate of chicken pot-pie…meatloaf…maybe a stuffed pepper next to a note that said, heat up in microwave for two minutes…,he’d eat it cold…

and by mornin’ with the sun was just breakin’ it’s yolk over America that car would be gone…no dirty dishes in the sink…not any evidence that he was ever there…just gone…vanished…’til midnight when I’d hear that old Ford pull into the driveway once again…

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