The branches of an early Autumn frost crack under the feet of William Ward as he continues his walk home. He exhales a dry breath as his age slows down his pace. Today was a good day for him, with a quest full of treasures. The canvas bag he carried was filled with a wool cap, some slightly irregular socks, a few mildewed paperback books and a dented can of carrots. William loved carrots. When he was a little boy, he would be the only one out a family of four kids that would eat every single one off of his plate. His Mom would then embarrass him with a big hug and kiss right at kitchen table. Of course back then, those carrots were cooked by Mom in this special glaze that made them extra crunchy and irresistible. Those days were long gone now, along with his Mom and his three sisters. The days now were very different for William. The safety and warmth of his childhood home were eventually replaced by different levels of life’s standards. His apartment right out college was small but decent, as was the cape cod he had bought with his wife, Barbara. There the two them lived for many years, raising three boys to manhood and marriage. William often thinks of those memories, they instinctively seep into his present state of mind on the nights when the open cold air numbs his body. Night would soon be descending, as the afternoon sun was starting to set. The chill of the night would be upon the woods. William would rely upon the six blankets and giant stuffed teddy bear to keep him warm. He approaches the rusted husk of the Plymouth station wagon and throws his bag inside. He thinks of Barbara and the over-sized sunglasses she used to wear in this car back when they would drive the kids down to the Jersey shore for summer vacations. She was always a fashionista, even wanted makeup on her face as she slipped away in her hospital bed. This had been a damn good car. William remembers his Dad repeatedly telling him growing up,
“Son, just always change the oil on ANY car. She’ll last a lifetime”.
And as usual like most Dads are with their uncannily accurate advice, Dad was right. This car ran for many years and thousands of miles.
William coughs into the open air, fighting off a potential cold. He gets into his car once again, the one he now calls home and closes his eyes. He thinks of how good of a day it was to have found a dented can of carrots as he slowly falls asleep.
Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Photo credit: Ted Strutz.