It’s enough to make anyone smile and kick up their heels. But the route must go on.
The two wrap up their conversations, and Liz is back in the car with John, who has his own way of keeping amused.
“I'm kind of a crossword addict,” he confesses, under the mustache. He holds up a book with the page folded over. Black and white boxes are smudged with pencil lead, darkening the negative space on the page.
“I'd be sitting at home working a crossword puzzle anyway.” His tone is non-negotiable, and he goes back to the riddle he was figuring. Liz is already back from another stop, gets in and shuts the door. John picks up with his part of the teamwork, but drives a little further past a driveway than Liz would prefer — provoking admonition. Directions aren’t needed, though driving advice has its place.
“I complain about his driving and his parking because he makes me walk,” Liz says. Her nose wrinkles up, but she stops short of a laugh.
Lastly, the car pulls into the parking lot at a local motel. Liz doesn’t need to rap on the door at this stop; it’s already open.
The man sitting on the side of the bed recognizes her instantly and proceeds to tell of his latest predicament surrounding an insurance claim. Liz, who worked with insurance in the big city before retiring to her East Texas life, offers to help.
“I'll call them for you next week,” she says, and the man with sea-blue eyes nods and smiles.
It's apparent that the people on this route are more than names or addresses.
“One year if it hadn't been for y'all, I probably would have starved,” he says.