Do You Ever Think of Me?
Traveling north on 49, it’s obvious there will be crowds wherever we go, as it’s midsummer and high season for vacationers. I’ve booked a room at a lodge near Sierra City, recommended by Dick Walker, a native Californian, professor emeritus of geography, and explorer of the state’s nooks and crannies, documented in his books on the subject. In other words, it’s a trustworthy recommendation.published in Ottawa by above/ground press
The lodge is easy to find. It abuts the road across from a big field of mowed grass and beside the driveway is a small trout pond with a dispenser to buy fish food. Inside the main building are a bar and a restaurant with picture windows, and behind it under redwoods and fir, are cabins with kitchenettes. Farther along and down a steep hill are single rooms with long porticos in front and balconies perched on stilts on the backside that overlook the gurgling Yuba River.
Everything in our room is standard: dumpy bed, tiny bathroom, molded plastic shower, drippy faucet, two towels, two wash cloths, a dowel with four hangars, bedside tables and reading lamps, a Gideon’s Bible, and a small refrigerator that hums. Number 14, that’s where we’ve landed, thanks to Dick Walker.
The humming reminds me of my childhood terror of polio and iron lungs and my first visit to the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. It was more than sixty years later that I visited it again, on a driving tour of the state with you in the coldest January on record. We were separated then but understandably, you wanted to join me for Bessie’s ninetieth birthday, a gala with dozens of guests for dinner and dancing in Batesburg, the village where Bessie came as a bride and never left.
After the party the Little White House was our first stop. You and I travel well together, and even during our five-year separation, we traveled well. You don’t mind stopping, and I don’t mind pushing on, so whatever suits our mood is okay. Staring at the oversized pool, empty of water, where the crippled President swam and played with thousands of children, I cried. I guess I cried for Daddy who loved Roosevelt more than anyone on earth.
(“DO YOU EVER THINK OF ME #1”)
as the tenth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
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Summer Brenner is the author of a dozen publications that include noir fiction, short stories, award-winning novels for youth, poetry, and the occasional essay. Recent work can be found in Berkeley Noir (Akashic) and online at Hello Goodbye Apocalypse. Forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press is The Missing Lover, a collection of novellas.
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