A Family Affair

March 9, 2009

Everyday when the middle school across the street lets out, people line up on the sidewalk to sell snacks to the students. Whole families cluster on one corner, each offering something different. Mothers have little carts full of Doritos, Funyons, and Hot Cheetos (everybody’s favorite). Young daughters stand shyly behind coolers overflowing with Coke and Gatorade. At the end of the row fathers wrap hot dogs in bacon and grill them on portable griddles. All of it is on wheels.

As soon as the bell rings kids swarm them, a short stop on the way to the corner of 1st and Vermont where boys practice kick flips and girls chat excitedly. Some days a cop sits in his car across the street and eyes them all suspiciously. Everyone’s got a bag of chips or a drink in their hand, fingertips stained red by the Cheetos.

Half an hour later the students are gone and the sidewalks by the school empty. Colorful wrappers lay in the gutter. The families pack up their wares and wheel them away down the street, grills still sizzling, off to some other opportune corner.

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