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Two Blocks from Slab Town
by Saturna Brown

Posted: 19:05 May 10, 2008

     You cannot run away from a weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand? (The Amateur Emigrant, Chap. 4)

Two Blocks from Slab Town
     It was Saturday afternoon. Joey and I were at the railroad tracks hunting for gold. The tracks ran parallel to our home along side a creek. We scanned the number of rocks between the wooden planks, believing we would find a chunk of gold. Instead, we found interesting-looking rocks. I began stuffing what I saw in my pockets. Once when we reached home, the rocks would go into an old lard can under my bed.

     Strolling into the back yard, Mike was using a file on an old penny. I asked him what he was doing.

     Not bothering to look up, he continued working on the penny. “I’m going to turn this penny into a dime, so I can get a soda.”

     I turned around looking at Joey seeing if he read my mind. He did!

     We were thirsty and went into the kitchen to get a glass of water. Since Mother was busy ironing clothes for her customers, we headed back outside and drank from the hose. After turning off the faucet, I knew Mother was going to ask me to do something.

     “Cissy,I need you to get the clothes off the line.”

     “Okay, Mother.”

     I ran over to one of the two clothes lines and began removing the wooden pins. Gently, I folded the clothing, sheets and towels into a large woven basket while handing the clothespins to Joey. Mother had sewn a cloth bag onto a wooden hanger to put the pins in. I thought it was ingenious, because one could slide the bag along with you while removing the items from the line. Joey had fun tossing the clothespins into the bag, while I completed my chore.

     Mother did not like to wash and iron other people’s clothing along with their sheets and towels. But, it was the only job she knew where she could stay home. She never thought about asking Mike and Kyle to help out with the expenses, such as the electricity and water bill. They spent most of their money on clothes, games and sports stuff.

     After bringing in the basket and setting it on the kitchen floor, I noticed Mike had left. Rushing into the bedroom, Joey and I shared, I locked the door. No one knew my secret hiding place. Reaching under my bed, I dragged the lard can out. No sooner had I began taking out the rocks, I sensed Joey would be at the door.

     “Let me in,” he stammered.

     “No! I’ll be out in a minute.”

     I dumped the rest of the rocks on the floor along with two pennies.

     When the banging stopped, I knew what he was up to. The knob began to move. I threw the rocks back in the container. I jammed the lid on and pushed the container back under my bed. I rushed over to my jewelry box on the dresser.

     The door opened. Joey ran in holding a butter knife he used as the key.

     “You’ve got some money don’t you?”

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