Stars in Heaven,

I ran across this old Redmond photo of cattle being driven down 6th street over on Katie Kirk’s FB.
They used to do that in the ’50’s to get to the auction yard south of town. It reminded me of this story from the same time. That might even be me and some little girl stading in front of the gas station.

Cattle in Redmond
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My father was a dreamer, in the fashion of his time, a Willy Loman type of entrepreneur, dabbler in schemes, a veritable tugboat of initial enthusiasm with Momma and I bobbing in his wake.
Our little restaurant and bar was one of those ideas, the motel behind another, unfortunately so was the ton of frozen whole chickens, purchased at a rock bottom price, but delivered in one piece as a large, fowl, cube of ice melting in the drive.
Then there was the glorious Ice Machine Franchise, large, hulking houses of refrigerated tin with the word “ICE” inscribed in frosty letters along the side, in front, a slot into which coins could be inserted for purchase, we all remember when we actually used coins to buy things, and a small chute from which the ice was dispensed to the consumer.

In a perfect world it would work that way, in a perfect world there’d be a machine in every town, on each corner, with lines of people hungry for ice, eager to deposit those shiny quarters and hurry away with their treasure.
In the real world ice is freezing cold, people use metal slugs in place of quarters then call you names and demand their money back when the machine doesn’t work.

In a perfect world it would be a learning experience, money for college, employees, a business of my own, a yacht on the Mediterranean.
In the real world no one works in an ice machine long, being bitter cold and bloody ridiculous to pour water into upright plastic bags that sit in tin troughs so that they can freeze into blocks, that is when they don’t topple over like dominos drenching everything; blocks that can then be slid into a chipper, that I swear was a souped-up rock crusher on crack that howled with glee as it gnashed big things into small.

Oh, did I mention that if you misplaced the key to the lock one had to strip to
t-shirt, jeans and socks, then climb up the tiny chute from the outside, turning past the gears and belts, into the blackest of ice caves, searching with quickly numbing fingers for the door, banging against the water bag trough sending waves of partially frozen water over the lower portion of your existence, threatening to freeze your feet solid to the very floor and ever mindful that somewhere in the dark, waiting, was the demon crusher, unholy metal teeth, chipped barbed wire sharp, hoping for the one misstep that would carry you down, down into the maw and onto oblivion.

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