Showing posts from August 11, 2019

The Watermelon Patch

It was a hot, dry summer in Grant County. My parents operated a large farm about 10 miles outside of Moses Lake. They farmed 450 acres, which included alfalfa, hay, and corn. They had 250 head feedlot for Holstein Heifers and small swine operation with 20-30 head. To make a little more income that summer, they planted 10 acres of watermelon with family friends. The Weaver* family had a mom, dad, and 3 young boys. The boys always wore their hair parted on the side and slicked back. Their parents drove a small yellow VW bug, and all 3 boys could squeeze in the back seat. At that time, neither family had a lot of money when it came to the Watermelon patch, it was all hands on deck. Mr. Weaver was a large quiet man with a kind smile who did his best to keep his boys in line.   Mrs. Weaver was a jovial heavyset woman with a great laugh. She would often work in the watermelon patch hoeing the weeds, She wore a  printed dress with an apron. When it came time to eat lunch, she would p

The Round Waterbed

It was summer in Grant County. The days were long and hot with the dry heat of the high desert of Eastern Washington. The giant round waterbed was in the middle of the living room. It was the old fashioned kind with brown leatherette padded edges, and it was about 7 feet in diameter. It was covered with one of those brown furry blankets with horses on them and many cheap pillows. It would have looked at home in a seedy Las Vegas honeymoon suite motel, but instead, it was in the living room of a family home. The family had three generations living under the same roof. The grandparents, two grown daughters, and their boyfriends and kids. My best friend was 16 and lived in the attic.   In the attic, she had a single bed, one lightbulb, and some old milk crates to store her clothes in. The attic had wide plank 2x4s with plywood for the walls. My friend Irene* came from an abusive home and to avoid her family, she had been staying with friends. Now she was staying with "Uncle"

The Jar

The Jar. It was cold in February in Pullman, Washington, where I attended Washington State University. I was 20 years old and lived off-campus with a roommate.  One day my friend Kathleen called crying. She was pregnant. For the past semester, she had been living with her boyfriend, a Vietnamese guy named Fong. He had a $5,000 aquarium in his off-campus apartment, was known to be a dangerous guy and carried a handgun, and there was no way she wanted to have his baby. They did not have a car. She wanted to see if I would drive her to Planned Parenthood in Spokane to get an abortion. The next week was her appointment.  One cold morning with ice and snow on the ground we drove the 90 miles to Spokane.  I parked my car on the street next to Planned Parenthood, and we went upstairs to the waiting room. Kathleen was visibly nervous.  There were women of all ages, some with their husband, mom, or by themselves. The nurse called her back. Kathleen asked me to go back with her