WHAT IT IS
Samantha Gallant looked at herself in the large mirror, then surveyed the other reflections in front of her, an eight pot Bun-o-matic coffee machine, a green milkshake mixer, thirty-six cup and saucer combinations ready for coffee, stacks of off white plates of various sizes and two grey caddies filled with forks, spoons and knives. From her stool at the counter, she could see the restaurant’s entrance and as noon approached the lunch crowd began to enter.
One of the first patrons through the door was a young couple with two small girls. Two teddy bears accompanied the girls, whose outstretched arms held up the bears and perused the restaurant looking for the best table. Once the teddy bears selected the booth in the far corner, the father sat down while the mother and daughters headed for the washroom. The single file procession saw one of the little girls drift away and amble toward the long row of stools at the counter. At first, she chose a stool far away from Samantha, but quickly bum-hopped up the row until she was sitting next to her. The little girl held up her teddy bear so Samantha could get a good look.
“This is Babs.” Her voice oozed confidence.
“Babs says go down the Cormier road, stop at the big bird nest, your friend is close by.”
The little girl jumped off her stool, “That’s what Babs says.” She ran off to the washroom, but not before adding, “We’re going to Lake Springfield tomorrow.”
The Cormier Road was a few hundred feet from the restaurant and when Samantha spotted the birds nest, Cathy, Leo and Tiny were just emerging from the swamp, planning their next move.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Mrs. B was told to check the oil every hundred miles because the ’79 Chevy truck had a considerable thirst for 10W30 and if it didn’t get what it needed, Mrs. B would find herself walking to Missouri. As oddities do happen, Mrs. B noticed that the radio station she was listening to played an Elvis Presley song approximately every hundred miles, so when the rockabilly wonder Heartbreak Hotel soared out of the speaker, Mrs. B knew it was time to pull over.
Elvis was followed by some grim news; fires in California, Australia and Brazil seemed to show the planet on fire. Floods in Europe, earthquakes in Iran and entire islands in the South Pacific disappearing made Mrs. B’s world and troubles seem rather small. She wondered if things were getting that bad or were the microscopes just getting so much larger? With the dipstick registering full, Mrs. B slammed down the hood and climbed back into the truck. As the afternoon passed by her windshield, she glanced at the odometer, turned up Kentucky Rain and pulled over. Grabbing a quart of Valvoline from behind the seat, Mrs. B popped the hood and fueled the truck’s addiction while admiring the south western Illinois countryside.
Down a picturesque valley, near a stand of pine trees, Mrs. B watched an osprey feeding its young and because she had never seen this bird before, she decided to take a closer look. The distinctive rumblings of the old truck caused Jackson to sit upright, let out a loud yelp and bolt toward the road. Mrs. B’s journey ended well, with the waggy tailed dog now in her arms. But now, the translucent man needed some serious attention.