Detour Drama
Joanne Faries
I heard mom on the phone to my aunt who lives in Santa Barbara, “I’ll walk into the village this afternoon.” She said village like we lived in a quaint town in France where people rode bicycles, baguettes tucked under their arms. Mom was delusional.  Detroit, Illinois was an armpit accident. When I graduate the population will drop from ninety-three to ninety-two.
 
Rusty tractors rolled by my Dad’s five and dime, the only real store that was open. Launderette closed, Harriet’s diner closed – a blessing, and the feed store’s hours were limited to Saturday.  I don’t think Detroit ever got the memo to leave the Great Depression.  Families stopped by our store on a hot day and I’d hear the father say, “We’ll share a cola.” Sure enough, he bought one bottle and five kids took sips.
 
Guess in Conestoga wagon days the town thrived. Now it sputtered. Detroit snoozed until the incident.   Suffice to say the Calder family tree was a weeping willow.
 
Can’t put it delicately – Cam Calder messed with Christine, his brother’s wife. Cam was pastor of the only church in town. Pursed lips, turned backs. Empty pews. Folks could not abide a cheating preacher. Christine, all blonde, curvy, and practically carrying an apple in both hands, was bored.
We were friends, even though she was six years older than me. A few years ago she asked, “Lauren, why did I marry Tom and move here?”
 
I straightened the dime store chip shelf, “Cuz you thought you were headed to the Motor City. Tom fooled you in college. Only said Detroit.”
 
“He was an accounting major. I imagined he’d own a CPA firm, not count cows for farmers.”
 
Cam arrived home a year later, cajoled folks into removing old Pastor Brennan. Charming Cam preached the gospel, broke bread with folks, and then broke away from commandments. He laid eyes on Christine, laid hands on her, and more.
 
Matt Calder condemned Cam, then got a factory job and skedaddled. Kerry Calder stood in church and declared, “Burn in hell, Cam.” Kerry’s in jail in Springfield now for feed store chemical theft.  Caroline, Cam’s twin sister, moved her brood to Taos, NM to run a spa. Township Pike’s asphalt has broken away – eroded as Calder family turned west on Main and headed to a beach fifteen hundred miles away, or the Rockies.  Anyplace but Detroit.
 
Here’s where I should discuss a gunfight or a huge fire or a suicide. But nothing happened.  Christine’s marriage detour kept her in Detroit, Illinois. The incident fizzled. Harriet’s diner reopened, so there was bad food to complain about again.
 
I graduate today, leaving the village tomorrow … with Tom.




First published: February, 2014
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