Rusty’s practically running over to our camp. “I called Wal-Mart and Doug, the tire guy, told me the tires are ON SALE! Instead of costing me $535, they’ll only cost me $429! And that’s for FIVE tires!”
Rusty doesn’t need to tell me how many tires. He’s talked about this plan to buy tires several times over the past few days. He can’t contain his excitement. He’s practically shouting. “That’ll save me over a HUNDRED DOLLARS!”
I tell him how happy I am to hear that and offer him a seat.
We sit in the camp chairs on the shady side of the BLT and chat for a while. Rusty’s got his metal coffee bucket with him. Earlier we took Timber, Spike, and Bridget on a short, morning walk together. When we returned, Rusty took off for his camp to make the call about the tires.
Once he’s calmed down some, I ask him if he’d like a piece of pound cake.
“Do you want it now or after you put on the breakaway cable?”
“I’ll have it after I work. I’m not that hungry right now. I ate so much last night. I had the Hilton for dinner. Then I ate one of those containers of applesauce. Later in the night I ate the block of cheese, except for this much.” He puts his pointer finger and thumb together about a half inch apart.
“Rusty!” I exclaim incredulously. “You ate that much cheese? You won’t go to the bathroom for a week!” I start to laugh.
“Oh, don’t worry. I won’t have any trouble in that department.”
The vision of Rusty eating that heavy dinner topped off with applesauce and followed by most of an eight-ounce block of pepper jack cheese is too much. I have to laugh.
“I’m not laughing at you, Rusty. I’m laughing with delight that you enjoyed the food.” I don’t want him to take offense.
This triggers the resurgence of an old memory from Rusty’s childhood.
“Have you ever eaten musgo, Sue?”
“No, what’s that?”
“Well, my grandmother used to call me in for some musgo.” Rusty was reared by his grandparents. “She’d say, ‘C’mon in, Rusty, and eat this musgo. I’m gonna’ clean the refrigerator and everything must go!” He laughs at my surprise at the punch line.
Then he gets up and goes to work cutting off the severed breakaway cable. He attaches the new one. “Do you mind if I keep the wire cable?” he asks.
“No, not at all. Go ahead.” Rusty finds a use for everything.
“Oh, good. I’m gonna’ use this wire cable to attach my gas cap to my truck. I don’t want to lose it.”
Back in the camp chairs, I announce we can have our cake now.
I cut two pieces of pound cake with cream cheese topping and put them on my best plates (Corelle!) along with dessert forks. I wrap a large piece in cellophane for Rusty to take back to his camp. When I rejoin Rusty, Timber, and the crew, Rusty sees the pieces of cake and smiles. He picks up the fork. “I’ll have this now, and the other piece I’ll have after dinner.”
We continue our conversation.
Somehow it keeps circling around to the tires, their 50,000-mile warranty, “There’s no deposit fee on the old tires!” and so on. Several minutes pass. I go inside the BLT to put away the plates and to get something to write on. I want to jot down some information about roads that Rusty shared with me earlier. When I come around the BLT, there’s Rusty, holding the bigger piece of cake, unwrapped. He looks up at me sheepishly. “I got hungry again,” he explains.
Let Them Eat Cake