The Bottle of Whiskey

Seven miles north of town at 75 miles per hour. In the warmer months, I ride in the back of the 1970 green Ford truck. But, now, I’m squeezed between my older sister and my father, my boots tucked under his gas pedal leg. Next to my sister is my mom and on her lap my little brother. We always sit in the same spots; it’s the only way we fit.

I know the way, even in the dark, even though I’m only eight and can barely see over the dashboard. Turn right on Jennings Road, pass the Jennings farm. I remember stopping there once for a few hours. The reeking silage was so pervasive, so inescapable, I thought I might vomit. Go left at the end of this road and pass the farm with the collie, the one who always tries to bite our tires. Don’t slow down, no need to, he does it every time and we haven’t run over him yet. Turn right and come upon the Reno place. There’s a girl there who is my age named Charla. I think we could be best friends because our ranches are close together.

But, we don’t live on our ranch like Charla does and I don’t see her that often. We live in town. We drive out to here most evenings to check on the place, feed the horses, and on weekends we go for a family ride, shoot guns, hike around, mend fence, or continue the work on the barn and corral we’re building.

Sometimes we kids come out here with just our dad. We play around while he drinks whiskey.

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