The lower Red River
By Wesley Houp
June. The early morning rain tapers off. My eggs, sunny-side-up, are runnier than I normally like. But I don’t complain, masking the mucussy whites beneath a hard triangle of buttered toast. It all goes down to a good spot. Danny lords over his sausage melt and home fries (“covered and smothered”), glancing furtively out pane-glass at neutered clouds. Dad, our shuttle-master, sips his coffee and polishes off the last bite of biscuit from his modest breakfast set. Wafflehouse on the Winchester Road exit of I-75 is abuzz with grizzled truckers, rough couples trapped in leather with inexplicably demonic tattoos—in from a Friday night of god-knows-what, and harried moms with their wild-eyed, towheaded children suckling up more syrup than hotcake. People on the go, people on the edge, people on the run, all people on the fringe of town…and us: just more wide-eyed people on the fringe of what comes next. But this morning we’re aiming to plush that fringe with the green distance of the Mountain Parkway. We’re Red River-bound. So we sop up yolk and thank the waitress while Dad pays the tab, a treat he erroneously predicts as our last “hot one” for a few days. At 72, with his river-ratting days mostly behind him, he’s forgivably unfamiliar with our new-fangled, compact, culinary technologies. To echo Lexington crooner Chris Sullivan, we can make a three-course meal from a worn out shoe.