I’ve never been to Disney Land, but I didn’t really need it. I have my own Main Street, except in this case it’s a square, and it even has its own cast of characters. Carol Davenport is always there on Saturdays and still tries to pinch my cheek, even in public. Maude Davis is the waitress at the Rexall Drug lunch counter. With a Camel cigarette hanging from her red lips, she has a smile for everyone who enters. Best of all, each time John and I order fries and a coke she says, “If you share those fries I’ll get your friend a free coke.”
The weather is nice, so I expect to find old man Blue sitting on a bench in front of Greeks Tavern. I don’t know his real name. Everyone calls him old man Blue. I don’t know why, but Grandma says to be polite and call him Mr. Blue. As I leave the car, I see him. He’s smoking a pipe and is in blue coveralls with one strap hanging loose. He knows everyone’s name. When he sees me, he asks, “What you up today, Timmy Joe? Not spending all that allowance are you?”
It’s only 12:30 and John said he wouldn’t be here until 1:00, so I sit next to old man Blue to talk. “I’m waiting for John. We’re going to get some fries and a Coke at the Rexall and then go to the movies. Roy Rogers is on today.”
He takes the pipe out of his mouth and points it at me. “You want to be like Roy Rogers, be a cowboy?”
“Yes, more than anything. I’ve got a Roy Rogers lunch box, chaps, a cowboy hat, and a gun belt with a six shooter.”
“Well, be careful, don’t go killing anybody.”
“It’s not a real gun. I just pretend.” I see a friend of Grandma’s coming down the street and I want to talk to her. “Mr. Blue, I’ve got to go.”
Old man Blue put his pipe back in his mouth, takes a puff, blows out white smoke, and finally nobs his head. “Well — enjoy yourself and stay out of trouble”
Grandma’s friend is Irene. Behind wire-rimmed glasses, her eyes dance as she looks at me. They sparkle, and I feel happy when I see her. She loves movies. “Hey Timmy Joe, what’s at the movies today?”
“It’s Roy Rogers, Miss Irene.”
“I was hoping it was Frances the Mule or Ma and Pa Kettle,” she says. When one of them is playing, she takes me and buys me Raisinets. She gets Sugar Babies.
Irene always wears a hat, Minnie Pearl style. Today it’s small, with a veil, boxy, except without the price tag. She’s short and wears black lace shoes with white gloves, just like Grandma. Today she’s in a blue flowered dress and smells like roses, most likely the body powder, probably uses it like Grandma. Her money and a lace handkerchief is kept in a zippered black purse. She never appears lonely, but she’s always alone. I’ve never seen her with a man, so I guess she’s not married, and I never see her with kids of any age.
Since Irene will not be going to the movies, she gets in the back seat of the car to talk to Grandma. It’s time for me to find Grandpa. He’s always good for some extra money. I’ll need it if John and I are going to movies and getting fries at the Rexall.