Ten days left


December 15, 1982


“I’ve only got ten days left,” Pauly tells me over the telephone.

Christmas is coming as it does every year, a regular burden to someone like him.

I have my own list in my pocket and wish I could give everyone the wide sky Fran says she saw on her trip to Texas.

The New York Times claims tough times for people with that kind of sky, saying many of them are starving.

I think of Louise and the tough times we had when we wandered through that world.

She is living Scranton these days, starving for affection.

I spend last Sunday studying Scranton from the inside of my car, thinking how dilapidated it looked, just when way I remember it from previous visits: Gray buildings pealing paint.

Someone once called Scranton “the biggest little town” in America and seeing it from the hill top of Route 307 I agree: all peaked roofs and steeples.

Only briefly might you mistake the place for a metropolis, quickly recognizing its working class despair.

Jobs jumped ship for places like China as rich folks get rich off the backs of cheap labor.

The poor in Scranton celebrate Christmas with a lot of lights; the poorer an American is, the more lights he is likely to put up.

The rich are too cheap to squander their wealth away on electricity.

I don’t have any lights up at all.

I must be a wealthy man.

Someone tell my landlord that when I spend this month’s rent money buying presents.

I admire Pauly because he makes all his presents from scratch.

He doesn’t worry about being short on money, only time.


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