Three Memories

Jon was the manager up front, 
When I would go, most Saturdays: 
Sh'Quan was the cashier I would choose 
Who knew the best, and quickest ways 
To ring up and to pack the food 
So it was easy to unpack: 
This place was crazy-busy, then, 
Fresh-bake on the right, fresh cut in the back. 

Jon now works at the tire store, 
He's a whole lot heavier (as am I); 
Sh'Quan, I think, must have moved away, 
As I just stopped seeing her, by-and-by. 
And I know these places come and go 
Like the squeak of a wheel on a shopping cart; 
But to be among ghosts of a grocery store 
Seems just a tad odd to this fading 


He told her there was someone else 
He wanted to be with. She told him that 
She was not surprised, and that 
Was almost true. She drove a long way 
Through the winter countryside, wondering 
What it was about her that no one 
Could seem to manage to love her; 
And cold tears fell, outside and in. 
She happened upon an abandoned barn in the snow 
With a faint sound of music coming from inside; 
That barn was me.

He told me

 about how just before he went in the Navy during WWII, 
 he rode with his older brother in a train all the way 
 from Georgia to California, passing through mountains 
 and over canyons and valleys, and looking like 
 something from a John Ford movie -- whoever he was. 

I asked him 

 about what the trains were like and if they had 
 men in hats who checked their tickets and the like, 

And he said 

 that the food was amazing in the dining car and 
 he and his brother met two sisters with
 strawberry blonde hair who were going west 
 to start a new life away from their parents, and 
 things happened on that train that 
 never happened back home and did I 
 ever date a girl with strawberry blonde hair?

And I answered 

 yes, but I had never ridden on a train or 
 fought in a war, or 
 gone across country like that, 

And he could only say 

 that I would have hated the war, but 
 loved the train and 
 really loved those girls


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