You could say Alvin is a friend of mine. That’s his name. I guess he’d be old enough to be my grandfather. I like it when he smiles. He doesn’t have many teeth but that’s okay. He’s always got on this pair of denim overalls with one broken strap. Even in the winter he’s out there on that porch in his rickety old rocking chair playing that banjo.
Sometimes he tells me stories about the old days. Alvin remembers when Podunk only had one paved street and that was Main Street. Alvin says folks were nicer back then. I asked him once if that meant they were genteel. He got a laugh out of that. He told me how he came to be in Podunk. He used to work for the railroad. One day he lost his job and he just got off the train and never looked back.
Now Alvin, he likes his wine. I don’t recall ever seeing him without a bottle sitting along side his rocking chair. He never seems to get sloppy drunk, but he sure can drink that wine. Seems like the more he drinks the better he gets with that banjo.
Sometimes we walk to town and I help Alvin carry his groceries back to his place. Alvin says cars are more trouble than they’re worth. He reckons the exercise keeps him healthy. He tells me stuff about the types of trees and such along the way. Alvin knows more than most folks, that’s what I think.
Alvin is my best friend in the whole world. Truth is, it scares me to think about it much. If you love something it can hurt you. I don’t know why that is, but it’s true. That’s why I try to just be fine with whatever I’m doing while I’m doing it. One day at a time.
I like to go fishing out at the lake when I can get there. I have this rod and reel I found in a dumpster once. It was broken, but I fixed it. It’s good when I catch some fish because then I don’t have to spend money on food for dinner. In the summer I go as often as I can.
I just walk to the lake. It takes a while but I don’t mind. I head out early, right after I’ve collected bottles and I’ve got some money for food. If I make good time I can fish for four or five hours before I have to head back. Alvin went with me a couple of times last year, but he doesn’t walk too good now on account of his arthritis. He can make into town to go to the grocery store but that’s about it.
Part 3 Tomorrow