in one of my retirement fantasies, i buy a graying old farmhouse against the hills in the grapevine, a truckers' route between los angeles and central california. in the winter i drive to the interstate when it snows, hoping the pass isn't closed and gaping at the monstrous fog belts that hang ten feet above the asphalt. in the summer i drive north to casa de fruta and take in the garlicky air between gilroy and the winchester mystery house; then i go south through the mountains and read a book in denny's as the high school church groups pour in from the local thrill ride park. i know the gas station attendants by name and drink their watery coffee; i tape newspaper snowflakes in the windows of my farmhouse and listen to johnny cash.

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