From my front porch swing, I gaze out over the hills of Egypt, New York, hoping to see the world go by. But there’s not much action on this country road. Before long I'm reminiscing about the good old days when I came to live in Rochester just out of college. I had an apartment on Meigs Street then, with a front porch that overlooked a constant parade of Rochester characters. I used to walk to the Genesee food co-op, earthy and warm with its wood floors, its grain-filled bins and secondhand paper bags. Hmm, I muse, I could still shop there. So I get in my car and head for I-490 west.
As I enter the familiar co-op, housed in the old firehouse building on Monroe Avenue, a mongrel cat rubs against my leg (all kinds are welcome here). I select a decent-looking bag and start filling it with fresh produce and the block of tofu that I've managed to fish out of a deep tub. At the checkout counter, the cashier is wearing a gentle smile on her face and a sleeping child on her back.
I return to my car with a renewed sense of serenity and glide more slowly than usual onto the expressway. But my mood is soon jolted by the driver beside me who, for no apparent reason, is honking his horn and pointing mysteriously upward. Suddenly there’s a crashing sound and my groceries are scattering across the road. Two cantaloupes roll eastward, toward home. I pull over, shaking with disbelief. A motorcyclist comes by to ask if I’m okay. But I just burst into laughter and tears, right there in the Can of Worms, while my fellow travelers dodge cantaloupes.