I'm on the road today headed south along the busiest and more dangerous interstate highways in the country. I know this first hand based on several near collisions and one direct encounter with a wayward orange plastic construction barrel.

A while back I passed through Red Oak, Texas. I've never stopped there but two things come to mind about Red Oak. Back in my hometown, Mr. & Mrs. King ran the dry cleaners and men's wear shop across from my grandparent's flower shop. We went to church together, saw each other at town events, and were as close as folks in town could be I guess.

When Mr. King died, Mrs. Ruby Ruth moved off to be closer to her kids and grand kids. I remember hearing she settled at a nursing home in Red Oak. Back then I thought she was much too young for that. Even though she wore large glasses and had a large Texas hair do- it was white and poofy like clouds. Mrs. Ruby Ruth had a booming alto voice with a Texas drawl.

As a kid who spent afternoons at the flower shop once school was dismissed for the day, the only thrill of doing homework back when my pencil needed sharpening. If Tank wasn't around with his pocket knife, I could always head across the street to the dry cleaners. Mr. & Mrs. King had a pencil sharpener and we're never too busy to stop a visit for a minute.