Copyright 1999
Sam Elmore


Br>I do a considerable amount of traveling; most of it in a pick-up truck. There's not much you can do on a boring trip, except to drive safe and...stare at that white line. So, I began playing a game I call ‘what-if'; just to keep my mind occupied and to make the trip seem less interminable.

A ‘what-if' situation might be seeing an old horse trotting around out in a pasture and thinking: What if---the horse was once a Kentucky Derby contender? Or, perhaps, even a winner! The mind can play with that idea, building fantasy upon fantasy, just from a one-glance ‘snap-shot' from a moving pick-up. Here is one:

Snap-Shot: Near St. Francisville, Louisiana. Highway 61 South. Beautiful white house on the right; collonaded front, replica of an ante-bellum plantation home. A woman stands inside the front door, one hand raised and resting against the door frame, as she gazes out at the lawn.

On the expansive, well-manicured lawn, are two young girls, about six years old. A white sheet has been spread on the grass. The two girls are sitting on the sheet facing each other. One girl pours imaginary tea for her companion from a toy teapot. ‘What-if'the girls are...


...sisters, but not identical. One of the girls is the epitome of the word ‘beautiful'; with classically molded features and porcelain skin. The other girl is borderline ugly, with irregular features which do not complement each other very well; nose a little too crooked, eyes not exactly level, skin somewhat splotchy and heavily mottled with freckles. (I will call the sisters ‘pretty' and ‘not-so'.)

As they enjoy their imaginary tea party, ‘not-so' begins to talk, citing her dreams and aspirations; as if the mere stating of them, aloud, will make them come true. ‘Pretty' hangs on every word and nuance, her attention centered on watching the face of ‘not so', the sister she adores, as the girl spins out her dreams.

"I'm gonna be a singer when I grow up", ‘not-so' declares; "and I'm gonna be beautiful and rich and famous, too!! Yes, and I'll sing prettier than Tammy Wynette and LeAn Rimes!"

‘Pretty' smiles a big smile, and nods her head in agreement and support.

"I'm gonna be in the movies, too", continues ‘not-so'; "I just love Doris Day movies...don't you?"

‘Pretty' nods repeatedly, smiling her marvelous smile.

"Who do you wanna be like when you grow up?", ‘not-so' asks her sister.

‘Pretty' makes no verbal response; she merely smiles and, with the tip of one extended finger, she reaches across the space between them and gently touches her twin on the tip of her crooked nose.

"Me???" You wanna be like ME?"

They both fall backwards on the sheet, shaking with laughter. The peal of laughter from ‘not-so' is heard inside the house, which causes her Mom to smile; then to heave a sigh. ‘Pretty'makes no sound, and the silence is deafening...she was born without a voice.