It was in the third grade that I first learned what the word meant. Intrigued, I began to notice all the stuff for sale in our little town. I pictured hordes of bulbous cargo planes filling the skies as they traversed oceans, east to west and back again, to deposit their valuable crates full of the new three-in-one tool and silicone spatulas onto railway loading docks across the nation. Smith’s Cash and Carry up the street would do well to have some of these, I thought.
Then I imagined freight trains crisscrossing the countryside on their delivery routes, blowing through small towns, like Watervliet, Malvern and even Marble Falls. The powerful engines rattling storefront windows, as well as the folks standing in front of the soda shop discussing important things. They could barely hear one another because of the thunderous din, so were left having to mouth the last few words of their conversation.
This is when my idea began to take shape.
Many a steamy summer evening, the “old folks,” as my great aunt and uncle called themselves and their friends, would gather for poker and beer around the card table on our screened porch. Because there was lots of activity at the table, tall beer glasses were placed on the floor next to each chair. My brother and I decided this situation provided an opportunity to start our new service business, refilling guests’ glasses frequently, before anyone had to ask. At the end of the evening, and again first thing in the morning just to make sure, we totaled up the take from our first commercial enterprise; charging five cents per pour, no matter how little or how big, came to sixty-five cents. Not bad.
It hadn’t occurred to me, that we were selling back to the folks what was theirs to start with. So, in writing this story, I’m feeling an indebtedness to them. I’m also wondering who else I am indebted to for my having gotten along this far?
Jean Cassidy, February 2021