The old weather beaten sign, I don’t know if it was cardboard or paper glued on a piece of tin. The corners were sort of rolled up and the face was yellowed but the black letters stood out clearly “Three for a Dollar.”
I asked myself what was three for a dollar; there the sign was hanging from the tree in the middle of nowhere. I looked about there was no stand, no store, no wagon, nothing to even suggest someone or something had been there to sell anything much less anything for three for a dollar.
I walked down the road; I hadn’t traveled a hundred yards when I spied another sign, which read, “Three for a dollar. Why didn’t you buy them?” I looked around and still did not see anything; the land was barren as it was before the sign as old as the one before and just as yellow and tattered. I shook my head shoved my hands deep into my pockets rubbed the 4-bits together and continued with my journey.
What’s with these signs, I thought, “they’re like Burma-shave signs along the highway. This one said, “Hey you, Yes you, you have 4-bits in your pocket. Go back and buy them you won’t be sorry you did.” I stopped dead in my tracks. This sign was older than the rest of the signs but there it was. I turned and looked and there in the distance, where the first sign hung was a wagon. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was I seeing things? Something compelled me to walk back and see if it was real. I wanted to know if I was losing my mind or if I was hallucinating, maybe it was the heat, and the heat will do that to you. A mirage that’s it a mirage.
I walked the 200 yards back to the wagon, yes, it was there, and so was the old guy who was sitting beside it on the old nail keg.
He looked up “howdy young fella,” he quipped.
“How long have you been here?”
“All day, I saw you when you passed by you were lost in thought I suppose you didn’t say a word you were staring at the sky. What brought you back?”
“Your last sign brought me back. How did you know I had 4 bits in my pocket?”
“Oh everybody these days has at least 4 bits in their pockets if they are traveling this road, that’s what it cost to cross the toll bridge over the river walking or driving same price.” He said
I looked down into the wagon and saw the beautiful red apples in small woven baskets. “So that’s what the signs are all about the Three for a Dollar, the apples in baskets.”
“Yep that’s right, Three for a dollar including the basket.”
“I’ve only got 4 bits and I have to get to the other side of the river. Have a good day.” I turned took 2 steps when he called to me
“Hey fella,” he said.
As I turned, he pitched a huge red apple to me, smiled, and waved, “have a great day.”
I smiled, waved, and took a bite of the apple it was going to ba great day.