Flash Fiction / Writers / Writing

Hippopotamus Summer by Catfish McDaris

She’d lived four summers and loved Snake Alley Noodles, Delaware Punch, strawberry ice cream, and the wildflowers that grew along the railroad tracks, which divided the old celery fields of West Milwaukee. Different kinds of flowers grew each summer, purple coneflowers, ox-eye sunflowers, blue lobelia, Jacob’s ladder, and black-eyed Susan, their seeds mostly planted by birds and animals. The last two summers, wild crazy red, yellow, and orange sunflowers conquered the hippopotamus colored steel tracks. Their green stalks and roots war snaked down through the black goo creosote coated railroad ties. The tracks took me back forty years to an all night walk across the vast Ft. Worth, Texas to catch a west bound freight for home in New Mexico. Stumbling over ankle spraining rocks and gravel and jumping into the prickly pear and yucca to avoid getting creamed by an Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe express. My young daughter wanted to get a few flowers for her mom. We stopped at the store for a few items and I pulled around back to the loading dock area, where there was a jungle of flowers. I thought this is a thirty second job and opened my pocket knife and asked her to remain in the cool car. I got out and was almost done when I felt the tug of a small hand on my shirt. There was my daughter with a big smile that pulled and stretched my heart half way to Tucumcari. The car was running with the keys locked inside. I noticed a semi-truck with another behind it waiting to use the dock. I grabbed my daughter’s little hand and told the truck drivers I’d need to call my lady for an extra set of keys, they were not happy. Fifteen minutes later, mom came to the rescue and we got out of our predicament. That was twenty years ago, I’ve seen Van Gogh’s sunflowers in Arles since, but none compare to the beautiful memories of my ladies and the hippopotamus summer.

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5 thoughts on “Hippopotamus Summer by Catfish McDaris

  1. Catfish McDaris is an aging New Mexican living in Milwaukee. He has four walls, a ceiling, heat, food, a woman, two cats, a typing machine, and a mailbox. That’s enough for him. He writes for himself and sometimes he gets lucky and someone publishes his words. He remains his biggest fan.

  2. Pingback: 2013 Best of the Net Nominations | The Blue Hour

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