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Gum Machine

With animated hands she says the old days were beautiful and terrific.

As I twirl in circles on my favorite smiling dolphin ride at the mall, my Gramma yells over the high-energy whistle song to tell me stories about the grand, old home of her childhood and the whitewashed fence and rope swing and pig farm, but I don't like rope swings because I fell out of one last year and it hurt my elbow; and on the next go-round, she's talking about baby trees and how they're now the big trees lining the sidewalks in front of her house, and how she used to like them, but now their roots are taking over the yard and she hates that; and then she's using words I don't understand, words that aren't a part of my generation lost to me like the wrinkles on her hands; and she says something about the old people in the old pictures on her mantle, and I remember they look both sad and powerful at the same time, which still confuses me; and on the slowing, final-rotation my light blue dolphin makes, she tells me how different things were back then and how simple and hard the world was, at the same time.

Then she stares at me, mouth open and lost much like what I'm reflecting back at her and she asks me what I wanted in the first place.

"A quarter, Gramma, for the gum machine!"

Story by:

R. H. Palmer

26 January 2015