Finally, the men were in agreement, and Skeet gave each of them an index card to write the rules on.
- 1. every Wednesday, unless snow, rain or holiday (discuss rain as needed)
2. meet at 11 A.M.
3. cancel in temperatures or wind chill index below 45 degrees (Elmer has arthritis in hip)
4. cancel in winds greater than 18 knots (Rory will check his weather station at home)
5. no keeping score
6. no betting
7. walk the front nine, rent a cart for the back nine
Bill, Elmer, and Rory had retired within a few months of each other, and Skeet just told his son one day, “The company is yours come Monday. I’ve had enough,” because he was long past retirement age. They would meet occasionally on the course, and played together in odd pairings until one day Skeet called them each and said, “Meet me for coffee at the drugstore tomorrow at ten o’clock.”
Mr. Hobart suspected the boys were cheating, but he couldn’t figure out how. For one thing, their desks were too far apart. “Little devils,” he thought.
Jesse and Charlie Ben both scored exactly the same on the history test. And not just that—their bonus credit answers were almost identical, and the questions covered topics he had not lectured on in class. He expected that Jesse would have read the extra credit materials, but no way in thunder Charlie Ben did. All that boy read about was baseball.
He decided to watch them another week, but then he found a folded note on the floor underneath Jesse’s desk. He studied it, but could find no meaning in the series of numbers and symbols strung across the paper, broadly printed in Charlie Ben’s strong hand.
He held them after school. “I think you boys are cheating, but I don’t know how,” said Mr. Hobart, studying their faces for clues. “What does this mean?” he asked, unfolding the note. Instead of looking scared or shamefaced, Charlie Ben was nearly bursting with excitement, though Jesse was solemn.
During the Vietnam war, Danny served as an Army medic—in northern Italy. The most dangerous thing he did, he joked, was administer first-aid to officers’ wives who’d sprained their ankles while skiing in the Dolomites. Later on he worked for a man who had been intelligence specialist in ’67, stationed along the wall at Checkpoint Charlie. Sometimes they would get together and talk about the Army, because outsiders never understood just how cold the cold war was.
When the Wall fell, Danny called his friend, but he was drunk, laughing and crying, and singing a bawdy bar song in German.
Would the Prince have found Cinderella anyway, without the dress and glass slippers? Who knows. But I say, never underestimate the power of one good dress. For me, it was my sister’s dress—not even mine.
Mother made it from looking at a photograph in Vogue magazine. She sewed two hours a day, five days a week. When the two hours were coming to an end, she finished the immediate part of what she was doing, like a seam or pulling out pins, then stopped. She would drape a big sheet over the sewing machine and her work table, and walk away. It made me crazy that she could turn her back on what she was doing, when another hour would have finished it, but she was resolute.
It was a terrific lesson in patience and discipline, knowing what could be accomplished in two hours each day. Mother took turns sewing for me and Shelly, and our closets were full of beautiful clothes.
Mother learned how to sew from her mother, Adele, a couturier seamstress who had worked at one of the big fashion houses in Paris. Papa Lou brought Adele home after the war, back to Texas. Grandmother Adele taught her only daughter how to design and sew as magnificently as she did, and Mother was so good that she sewed for the public before she married Dad; after that she only sewed for herself and we girls.
It was cool and clear, a perfect October day in Houston. Darla enjoyed the yard work, mowing and cleaning out the flower beds, raking it all together in a tidy pile and sacking it for the trash. She borrowed lopping shears from the man next door and cut off some low branches in the tree over-hanging the driveway. Mike had complained about them scratching the top of his pickup.
Music floated over the neighborhood, from the nearby high school band in marching practice. Darla smiled, hearing the tom-tom drums and thought about football games and homecoming, with spicy-scented mums, cold and silky against her cheek. She’d worked up an appetite and though Mike insisted on big suppers, she was tired. She wanted chili and Fritos, with lots of grated cheese and fresh green onions to sprinkle on top.
Darla quickly showered and washed her hair, combing it into a sleek ponytail at the back of her head. Just a touch of mascara and lipstick. Soft old clothes now—a small T-shirt, once red now faded to coral, and gray jersey warm-up pants, cast-offs from Mike.
She made banana pudding first, carefully layering the vanilla wafers and sliced bananas with the pudding and whipped cream into a crystal trifle bowl, a wedding present rarely used. When the pot of chili was simmering, she measured out the dry ingredients for corn bread. She’d add the wet ingredients when she heard Mike’s pickup in the driveway. Twenty minutes to bake, just long enough for him to bathe, then sit down at the table at six o’clock on the dot, the way he wanted.
Mary’s mother always said, “Fat girls can’t wear white.” Save for her christening dress, and her First Communion dress, Mary didn’t, until she left for nursing school.
She worked nights, her quiet measured pace and steady presence a comfort to patients and reassuring to the staff. “I want that nurse in white,” some querulous old woman would demand, and they would send for Mary, who wore white like it was the very distillation of the sun—pure and incandescent.
And she would tuck and straighten, whisper and soothe, ‘til all was quiet on her floor.
Rose Martha Sims was sick to her stomach with worry. Seven weeks had passed since she sent off a story to the confession magazine. She’d mailed it from another town, fearful that someone at her little post office would notice her name on the envelope. Now she was nervously watching for the return envelope to come bouncing back, because who ever sold something on the first try?
What she didn’t figure on was her husband coming home from work early, and meeting the postman in the driveway. Or her husband handing her a thin envelope, and waiting—all curious and expectant while she opened it. Or finding a check for $67 because the magazine bought her story.
Rose Martha had a lot of confessing to do, but her husband was proud of her, and said she needed to open up a savings account with it.
They went to the drive-in that night for supper, and after the car-hop brought their food, and they began to eat, he turned to her and said, “You won’t believe what I heard at work today—about the girl in receiving.”
The last President of Texas lies in a peaceful, leafy park decorated with fine marble carvings of weeping angels, children, and lambs. Left behind and overlooked in the exuberant thrall of statehood, he died by his own hand. “Of a broken heart,” others said.
On pretty days, runners pass in and out of the grounds, mindful of where they are, but grateful for the heavy shade of cypress, willow, and live oak. Sometimes they see a flutter of bright color—flowers and a flag—so they stop to read, and try to remember, ” … now who was Anson Jones?”
During a baseball game on a balmy night in late June, with runners on first and second, the batter hit a hard line drive straight into Charlie Ben’s glove. He backed onto second base to force another out, then tagged the bewildered runner between first and second base for an unassisted triple play. Charlie Ben looked at the umpire, who began whooping and running toward the shortstop.
A photographer from the newspaper took his picture, and the local bank sent the clipping to him, laminated and framed. Charlie Ben was eleven and it was the best day of his life, and for a long long time, nothing else could beat it.
The genesis of Glove Box Stories began in February 2005, when my husband gave me a domain as a birthday present, SanLeon.net. Imagine! My own domain, and I had no idea what to do with it. I tried blogging, but I didn’t have the heart for it.
SanLeon.net languished until February 2006, when I started writing Glove Box Stories. Forty-eight short stories later, I stopped writing to devote my energies to another endeavor, and my last posting here was January 21, 2007.
In the eighteen months since, much has changed. My husband and I started a business, an online flag store—Flags Bay—and we moved. Previously we lived in San Leon, Texas, on Galveston Bay, and now we live on Canyon Lake, a resort area on the southern edge of the Texas Hill Country.
The Daily Flag is an adjunct website to Flags Bay. At The Daily Flag, I write about flags, flag etiquette and protocol, flags on postage stamps, the Boy Scouts, and anything else that interests me. I love writing at The Daily Flag, but I’ve missed the adventure that comes with writing fiction, and I am ready to write at Glove Box Stories again.
Glove Box Stories has a new look. Convinced (finally) by my husband, that a smart new theme would let him do the things I wanted, I chose RockinBizRed 2.0 by Nathan Rice. And as long as I was changing to a new WordPress theme, I knew I wanted to use a photograph of an open glove box in the header.
Aj Martin Bocola—Marty—of Automania in New Braunfels, Texas, gave Larry and me the run of the showroom, which was filled with gorgeous vintage automobiles. Choosing among the photographs that Larry took was a hard decision, but I kept coming back to the dashboard shown above—from a 1956 Chevrolet—which Larry tweaked a bit at my request.
So I’m back. To kick things off for Glove Box Stories, here are five new stories, which I shall post two hours apart. After this, I plan to post at least one new story a week, maybe more. Enjoy!