Just before dinner Ricky shows up at our door. He carries an old, green, heavy, Coleman sleeping bag over his shoulder, the edges of a white pillow stick out of each end of the rolled up sleeping bag. Everything else he may need is rolled up in there too.
I go out the door instead of inviting him in, “My stuff is already up there,” I tell him as we walk around to the backyard through the carport. It takes two tosses to get the bag up to the deck.
“What’s your mom cooking?” as we go up the steps to the back door.
“Smells like fish.”
“Your mom makes good fish.”
“She does pretty good,” I agree as we walk into the dining area, which is also the kitchen.
“Who’s she?” my mom asks as she places a pile of dishes on the table and nods at us to spread them around.
“You are she,” I answer and start dealing out the dinner plates.
“What do I do pretty good?” she asks while putting some potatoes into a bowl.
“Some people say you’re a good cook,” I say with a quick look at Ricky.
“Thank you Ricky. That is very nice of you. I hope you like chicken,” she puts the mashed potatoes on the table and gets the chicken out of the oven. “Go find your father.”
We spread out both sleeping bags and completely cover the plywood deck. We kick off our tennis shoes; one of Ricky’s shoes slips between the railing and lands in the grass below.
“I can get that in the morning,” Ricky states.
With pillows leaning against the newly installed two by four railing we lay on top of the bags, it’s still too warm to get inside. The sky is almost black; the moon is still below the horizon, stars shine.
“This is nice,” I say while looking up at the stars.
“That was fun, working with your dad.”
“My father comes through every once in a while,” I tone it down a little so as not to get too mushy.
“What’s that?” a light streams across the sky.
“A falling star?” I suggest.
“If a star fell to earth the earth would burn up in a fiery ball long before the star got anywhere near us. Stars are huge,” Ricky informs me.
“A meteor, a falling meteor,” I correct myself.
“I think it was a spaceship,” Ricky says just looking straight up into the night sky.
“Sure, Ricky, and it just crashed into the ocean.”
“Do you really think that?”
“No Ricky. No I don’t.”
A car show took over the whole beachside town. Ricky’s dad wanted to see the cars so we tagged along. Perfectly restored cars fill every empty lot. People have opened Kettle corn shops on wheels and there are lines in front of all the fish places. One place known for its bread bowls of clam chowder has a line half way down the street.
As soon as Ricky’s dad parks the Honda N360 he has a line of his own. Most of the people want to see the engine – it’s very small. They seem willing to overlook all the body rust. Ricky’s dad gives the same speech over and over about the car’s mileage and what needs to be done to keep it in top running condition. Occasionally when the size of the crowd increases he gives some history that dates back to his college days. I don’t know if he ever gets around to looking at the car show cars. Ricky and I purchase the over sized bag of kettle corn to share and leave him to his audience.