We were on our way home as I cautiously watched
The moon through the back window
Of my father’s Packard. Crouching down
So it couldn’t see me, I was sure it was following us,
Trying to tell me something. I didn’t wake my sister,
In the back seat next to me.
Six days a week my father sold furniture. Sundays,
He took my mother antique hunting in the country.
My sister and I, ten and seven, were taken along
To make it a family outing. In the back seat,
I felt more baggage than outing, another day
Away from my friends.
They’d stop at old farmhouses,
Knock on the door until someone answered,
Offer cash for old pitchers, paintings or plates.
My mother had a keen eye for what would sell.
My father put country people at ease
With his mid-western politeness.
Later at home, he’d wash the porcelain pitchers
And hang the decorative plates. Word spread.
Women, strangers to me, would ring our doorbell.
My mother, a sales girl in her parents shop since six,
Showed them in and sold them her new treasures.
They’d ask, “Where did you find this?” She’d smile.
I didn’t know it then, but those family outings
Were my parents’ way of turning old things
Into future tuition for me and my sister.
On those country roads back in 1954,
The moon knew. It didn’t tell me,
But watched with a sly smile.