A Future Face
August 10, 1960
Coming from the air-cooled lobby, My, God, he thought as the heat hit him, it’s got to be a million out here today! Standing in the miniscule shad in the lee of the building, loosening his tie and removing his seersucker jacket, he draped it over the sample case.
Walking north on Main Street, glancing at his watch: 11:07. Thinking, I can make another call before lunch, then either grab lunch here – knowing he had an hour to kill when eating downtown, he had taken to bringing whatever book he was presently reading with him each day – or go on home for lunch.
Just about anyplace Mitchell worked in the city of Peoria he was never much more than fifteen minutes from home, but did know if he went home for lunch, especially on a day as hot and muggy as this day, he’d probably want to stay there.
But, I’ve had a pretty good day so far. As a matter of fact, for only working – calculating – eight days this month, I’ve sold – calculating – better then four hundred thousand envelopes. And besides – rationalizing – I promised Mikey I’d take him fishing.
Never expecting to, surprising both his wife and himself, Mitchell found he enjoyed the relaxation fishing gave him. But, tiring of the racial barbs and ethnic jokes of Hugh Ivy and Bobby-Joe Klee, in the early days of this summer he had taken to going fishing by himself and – still ambivalent about actually catching fish – he had found a small, shade stippled clearing on the western bank of the Illinois River where, depending on his mood and the day, sitting in sun or shade, Mitchell would bait the hooks on the two poles he then owned, cast the lines, eat the lunch he or Marsha had made, then, again depending on his mood – keeping an eye out for the bobbing of the tips of the poles – Mitchell would sit on a nearby bolder reading a book, or, laying on a blanket, watching the clouds, he would let his mind drift, and, if indeed he did catch a fish, other than baiting the hooks and casting the lines, it was purely coincidental and, still not too keen about beheading and gutting it – also considering the fact that his wife refused to even look at it, to say nothing about cooking it – the lucky fish always got tossed back.
Truly enjoying small town living... Well, in comparison to Chicago or New York City, even with a population of two million, Peoria Could definitely be defined as a “small town”.
“Hi!” Nodding his head. “How you doing?” Speaking to someone he thought he recognized as either a customer or a prospective customer, or someone that just looked familiar.
Being of a friendly nature and not wanting to slight anyone: customer, prospective customer or someone that just looks familiar, approaching, nodding his head, Mitchell said “Hi!” to anyone that even looked familiar, and sometimes, if she’s pretty enough, he’d add, “How you doing?”
Not sure if she knew this good-looking, friendly young man, slowing slightly, “Okay!” the attractive, middle aged business woman said in passing. “How are you?”
“Fine,” he answered back. “A little hot today, but just fine!”
Okay, his thoughts coming back to his quandary. So do I want to go home and take the rest of the day off and take Mikey fishing, or do I want to eat here and spend some more time working? Well, Mikey is three, after all and he’ll probably get bored real fast. But it’s so hot. Rationalizing whatever his decision might be, turning the corner onto Adams Street, he saw a grandstand swathed in red, white and blue
bunting and a crowd of people that overflowed the grassy lawn in front of the county court house.
Approaching the crowd, “What’s going on?” he asked a man dressed in overalls passing in his direction.
“Ah, it’s, uh... one’a them guys what’s runnin’ for president there.”
“Some politician.” The man said over his shoulder. “Don’t know his name.”
“Oh, thanks anyway.”
Deciding, walking to where he’d parked the car, not taking the time to stop to listen, or to see John F. Kennedy, Mitchell Lipensky went home.