“My family was on the dole when I was a kid,” Mom said in the steaming street.
“What’s that?” Rory asked me.
“Means you’re on a special pineapple diet,” I told him.
It was the middle of May and the temperature was 82 degrees at 11 in the morning. After getting thrown out of the cool bank for loitering, Mom pushed Rory & me down 86th Street in the stroller and told us a story. “It’s not like the old days. When I was a kid you could spend the whole day in the Horn & Hardart coin-mat with a few nickels in your pocket. Steaming coffee came out of the mouth of a brass dolphin. Best baked beans on earth. Macaroni & cheese from God.
My knucklehead cousin, John, once put a nickel in a machine to get a glass of milk. Then he yelled train wreck, and showed me his open mouth full of lemon meringue pie. He was so proud of himself he forgot to stick a glass under the milk spout. Quick thinking, he stuck his hat underneath the spout and collected the milk the hard way.”
Mom rubbed the sweat off the back of her neck and said, “It’s a scorcher. Let’s go find me some shoes.”