Charles Wright

Fiction / Sunday, January 24th, 2010

The neighbors talk about the old country in a way that makes me picture everything about it overlaid with a golden screen. It’s always ‘in the old country this’ or ‘in the old country that’ and you would think that these people were crazy for leaving such a beloved land.

Not me. No, don’t think that I don’t miss Poland. I do very much. But I look around me here in Chicago and I realize that this truly is the land of opportunity. Do you know why that is? I’ll tell you. It’s because I can go out my door and turn left and within a block I can get anything I need to eat from Mr. Bobek the butcher and Jimmy the grocer; I can turn to the right and get a haircut and a shave for a dime; and at night I can see the glow in the distance of the theater where I can catch a show with a gal.

It’s been five years to the date since we left the old country. I know this because father just became eligible to apply for naturalization. But I still remember our old house. Our house was stone with clay roof tiles and a small chimney that always seemed to be smoking, perched atop the small hill just outside of town. I remember mother out front, feeding the chickens grain from her apron. The feathers of those chickens, along with the ones from the ducks father would bring home for dinner every now and then were slowly being added to the blanket that mother and father now keep atop their bed.

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