A Partner; The Summer of ’62

The day warmed quickly. Rich mowed only a portion of the lawn before it got too warm. By eleven it was ninety. For lunch, Rich ate light and drank heavy – a slice of cheese on a single slice of bread and two glasses of instant frozen lemonade.

He mounted his bike and rode to Don’s house.

The heat of the day did not change the beauty of the ride to Don’s house. Small white butterflies danced above the flowers and weeds on the roadside. Hummingbirds suckled the nectar from flowers like nursing calves. Bees skittered from flower to flower. Red-winged Blackbirds trilled dulcet flute-like melodies, as they flew from fence post to fence post. Sweet wafts of fragrant heavy air interrupted the occasional odor of road tar. The bike tires busted tar bubbles like the sound of miniature firecrackers. Occasionally, a tar-laden stone picked up by the tire flung loose and dinged against the finders. Heat rose from the road before him, as if a molten blur from a pot of gurgling cauldron.

Don saw Rich peddling down the road and waited for him in the shade of a maple. Rich coasted into the shade.

What’s going on?” Don said.

It’s hot!” Rich said wiping sweat from his brow and holding out his shirt to display the amount of perspiration.

It’s cool in the garage,” Don said. “Grab a chair.”

They pulled two folded lawn chairs from hooks on the garage wall, unfolded them, and plopped down in them like they were bags of laundry.

You could fry an egg on my forehead,” Rich said and slid down further in the chair.

You want a glass of ice water?” Don asked.


Don got two large glasses of ice water from inside. Rich gulped the glass half empty before sitting it beside the chair.

They say it’s going to be like this the rest of the week,” Don said lifting his glass to his mouth.

Wouldn’t ya know,” Rich said. “I suppose you wouldn’t want to weed a bean field the next couple of days would you?”

Sure,” Don said with enthusiasm. “I can use the dough.”

It’s the Gardner’s twenty-five acres next to the road. Uncle Bob said it’s a four-day job,” Rich said. “But I figure between the two of us, we can do it in two days.”

Don rubbed his chin. “I know the field, but if we work our butts off, do you think we can do it in a day?”

What ya got in mind?” Rich asked, intrigued by his question and manner.

We start before the sun comes up,” Don said. “Just enough for us to see and work like madmen until the sun goes down.”

That’s going to be a heckuva day,” Rich said.

I’d rather have one very long and very hard day than two long and hard days,” Don said.

Yeah, we’re young,” Rich said confidently. “We can take the heat.”

I got an idea,” Don said. “How about you stay at my house tonight. We hit it together, early in the morning. That way we won’t oversleep.”

You talking about me or yourself,” Rich joked.


That night, Rich slept on the couch in the living room of Don’s house.


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