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  • Writer's pictureLinda Nygard

Made At Home

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

Young George walked down the sawdust covered alley with the newspaper wrapped package in hand.

What was Mr. Ernest getting from Sarasota Florida? It was a weighty package. When he shook the package from side to side it did not make any sounds or shift its weight giving indication of what it was.

Young George had never seen Mr. Ernest get a package before, so he found it quite peculiar that he was receiving this delivery. Unlike Miss Louise who always got packages, filled with face creams and makeup. She needed those “so she could look her best, even atop the high wire”. Or that bearded lady, with her special beard razors and scented body powders. The fragrance of rose and lavender permeated the package so strongly that he would have to plug his nose when carrying it to her tent.

The elephant was out getting a bath. She turned in circles so the spray of water could hit her on all sides. Around the circus grounds, Young George had overheard that her keeper had a special connection with the beast. He did not understand what that could mean, but for some reason, he was too afraid to ask and find out. There were some topics around the big top that were off limits for him.

The camper that Mr. Ernest called home was behind the carnival games. He preferred to “live close to his work”; more so to keep tabs on his little goldfish in their individual bowls. Every so often a raccoon would make a meal out of the little gold and orange fish, thus, eating up his profits.

Young George knocked on the camper door and stepped back to await a response.

A grizzled old man opened the door and looked down on Young George. A cigarette hung off of his lip and his grey hair stuck out in patches over his ears.

“What cha want?” Mr. Ernest croaked. A clump of cigarette ash fell and landed on his slightly protruding belly.

“Package for you from Florida Mr. Ernest”. Young George meekly replied.

“Well I’ll be.” The old man smiled. “It’s mama.”

The young man, with a puzzled look on his face, blurted out. “I thought you were too old to have a mama Mr. Ernest.” He caught his breath and regretted how the words came out.

Mr. Ernest glared, then he melted into a smile. “Why, you are right George. Mama is a special person back home. ‘Membered my birthday.”

He sat down on the step to his camper and began to tear at the package. Young George awkwardly stood by in the hopes he would garner a tip.

Mr. Ernest pulled a pair of thick socks and matching gloves from the paper, rubbed the yarn on his cheek, put them to his nose and inhaled deeply. A content smile fell over his face.

He opened a paper bag and inhaled the sweet smell. “Here you go young man.” Handing him a cookie. “Made at Home.”

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