Friday, April 22, 2011

“Get Go, And Gone”

c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

It was a cool night in Chardon. After a happy visit with my sister and her family, I had paused at Giant Eagle to buy groceries before heading home. My last need was to fill the fuel tank of my pickup truck. Quietly, I wished that the day had already ended. Yet the glowing oasis of Get Go beckoned with colorful lights and echoing music.

Rubbing my eyes, I turned toward that friendly gasoline depot on Center Street.

The station wasn’t crowded at such a late hour. Only a couple of other vehicles were at the pumps. With satisfaction, I realized that my stop would be brief.

Then, I spied a small, white car near the store. It was covered with bumper stickers, one of which read ‘I love polka music.’

A smile spread across my face. By sheer coincidence, I had crossed paths with Carrie Hamglaze.

After filling up, I circled back toward the side parking lot for a spot near their entrance. The night air was brisk. Curiously, ‘Come On, Eileen’ by Dexys Midnight Runners echoed from the loudspeakers.

Suddenly, I felt fully awake.

“Rodneyyyy!” my friend cheered loudly, as I walked inside. “How are you?”

“Hello, Carrie,” I replied, with a touch of embarrassment. “Wasn’t this the last place I saw you… in November?”

“Yes!” she laughed. “I’m here almost every day.”

Rhonda Ronk, a bubbly clerk at the cash register, nodded her head in agreement.

“It’s true,” she said. “Carrie is like one of the family.”

“We should go out for dinner somewhere,” I insisted. “Perhaps at the New York Deli?”

“Closed!” she proclaimed. “I’m not sure what happened there. A window sign said thanks for fifteen years of memories.”

“Closed?” I stammered.

“Closed,” she sighed. “Closed, closed, closed.”

I bowed my head. “Still, there are other places to go. Perhaps a good fish fry around town?”

“Get Go is where I hold court,” she laughed. “This is a bustling place populated with everyday people. Where better to take the pulse of Geauga County?”

“Okay,” I surrendered. “In that case, how about a cup of coffee?”

Rhonda gestured from the counter. “I’m brewing Irish Breakfast Tea for Carrie…”

“Isn’t it late for a breakfast tea?” I wondered out loud.

“With a kiss of the shamrock, it doesn’t matter!” my friend observed. “Lighten up, Rodney.”

“Well then,” I coughed. “What have you been doing lately?”

Carrie brightened. “I met Governor Kasich at the Rock Hall on Lake Erie. That was a fantastic experience.”

My hot beverage was fresh and tasty. “Yes, I read about it in the Maple Leaf.”

“So,” she prodded. “What about you?”

“Nothing so dramatic,” I confessed. “My latest project has hit a snag. It was supposed to be a book of poetry and lyrics inspired by the work of California guitarist Davie Allan. But I need more material…”

“Focus on your task,” she insisted, while stirring her tea.

My face reddened. “That’s what I need to do… but self-discipline has been elusive. I have several projects in mind, like a book with Cleveland music hero Dennis Chandler. But I haven’t been able to organize anything.”

“Rodney!” she squawked. “I am surprised at you. Get that pen moving!”

“Yes,” I promised. “Very soon…”

Without warning, she exploded in a burst of excitement and steaming Irish Tea.

“I KNOW WHAT YOU NEED!” she shouted.

Rhonda stiffened at her cash register. “Are you okay, Carrie?”


I was stunned. “What??”

“Your Christmas present,” she said. “It has been waiting on my front porch since December. Didn’t you get my messages?”

“It’s April, Carrie,” I observed.

“So,” she squeaked. “Who’s fault is that? You have to get it right now!”

“Now?” I wheezed.

“Right now!” she commanded. “Follow me home, Rodney!”

Rhonda waved with a giggle. “Well then, good night, everybody!”

Carrie was already out the door by the time I had picked up my coffee. Her car was a streaking blur of white in the road. Our drive across town took only a minute. I parked by the ramp to her front porch.

Before I could speak, she produced a long bag from Marc’s.

“Merry Christmas, my friend,” she said.

It was an Elvis clock, shaped like an electric guitar.

“Carrie!” I beamed. “What a great gift. I don’t know what to say. Thank you!”

“Say it’s a good omen,” she whispered.

“Yes, indeed,” I replied.

“Now get back to your writing, Rodney,” she said forcefully. “No excuses!”

“Thank yuh,” I said with a made-up southern drawl that evoked the spirit of Presley himself. “Thank yuh very much!”

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