Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Dream Sequence) - Part 2

A large arrow on a piece of plywood points to a gravel road that cuts between a small grove of trees and then meanders into the rolling green hills. My vehicle follows this path as if on auto-pilot. This road seems smooth for a path cut by years of farming, the stake-bed gliding effortlessly over the puddle filled ruts and bumps. I’m still dreaming.

More hand-made signs begin to pop into view, out of nowhere, like the old Burma-Shave advertising signs along the highways.

The first four signs read…

Mellon's fresh melons

Just up ahead

Big Juicy Casabas

As large as your head.

The truck comes to a complete stop by itself. I really haven’t been driving at all. Just a passenger with my hands on the wheel.

Now there’s a guy, a big bearded guy, overalls and a corn-cob pipe, standing next to the passenger window. He puts his thumb up and smiles an almost toothless grin. I tell him to get in. He climbs in, slams the door shut, says nothing but points ahead…as if to say… keep going.

The truck rolls forward and picks up speed. The green hills are coming into focus the further we go down this path. Rolling fields of melons as far as the eye can see. On one side of the road…watermelons. On the other…some kind of muskmelon or cantaloupes. The road comes to a “T” and the truck automatically turns right at “Sharp’s Corner”.

Four more signs…

If you’re thinkin’ ‘bout fruit

You found the right place

Hand over your loot

And put a smile on that face!

I hesitate but I feel compelled to look at my passenger. He’s still smiling. I can now see that the stem of his pipe fits snugly between a gap in his teeth. And then he quietly mutters one word…”melons”…as his eyes widen and his smile gets bigger.

The truck slows to a stop once again. This time a farm-hand standing on the side of the road hoists a few wooden crates onto the back of the flatbed. I try to tell him something but no words come out. He jumps up on the truck and thumps the bed with is hand as if to say…let’s go.

The next four signs…

This farmstand is diff'ernt

We got flowers with names

And a guy that got burnt

By spectacular flames.

The signs, as well as the road, seem to go on forever now…

Our fruit is all fresh,

All ripe for the pickin'

Tom Turkey might gobble

While Nellie's a-kickin',

But be careful you don’t

Start squeezin’ too tight

Cuz’ Ol’ Leroy is cleanin’

His shotgun just right.

The truck has picked up considerable speed as we climb the steepest part of this dusty road. My passenger is now laughing, way-out-of-control, the farm hand on the flatbed is pounding his fists on the top of the cab, and a horse and rider appear to be racing against us through the melon fields. Dream becomes nightmare.

Four more signs lead us to the top of the hill. I have to read quickly at this speed…

See the Mountain of Melons

Where everyone grins

Come pick the ripe ones,

But keep your hands off the twins!

When we reach the crest of the hill, a lush vista opens up in the valley below. A huge brick farm house stands watch over the vast acreage.

The crop duster returns, flying over the area pulling a banner that reads -

Visit the Mellon Family Melon Farm.

To be continued...

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