Homesick in America

“Darlin,’” she said, “I’ll get that.  Go ahead and take it.”  She was a weathered-looking woman with mousy light brown hair drawn back in a bun and the plain, honest look of one of those faces you see in Depression-era photos from the Dust Bowl, faces that don’t smile—they are just themselves, making the best of circumstances as they are.  I was in a rundown convenience store attached to a truck stop near Huntsville, Texas, on a dreary, damp Saturday in February, trying to buy a Dr. Pepper with a credit card, since I was cash poor on a road trip.  The cashier lady couldn’t get the store’s new machine to read the chip.  A middle-aged black man in a battered old baseball cap was leaning against the wall opposite the counter, apparently a local just hanging around.  I looked over at him.  He grinned, and I saw lots of gold.  I told the lady that maybe I had some change in the truck, but she waved me off, “It’s all right, it’s all right.”  So I told her thanks, picked up the Dr. Pepper, and walked outside.

I was driving a big rental truck on my way to load up and haul furniture from a house in Houston—my wife and I were moving her sister—but I walked over to the pickup my wife was driving, making a cranking motion with my right hand, signaling her to roll down her window but forgetting that windows...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here