“Just pop it in the cooler, there. How is that so hard,” he says. “Just throw the damn thing in there.” My sister and I stare at a five pound slab of bologna that reeks like rotten feet. That’s all we’re going to eat for the next two days. That plus a loaf of Wonder bread. We open up a Styrofoam cooler that smells at least as bad, lid breaking off in my hand.
“Your father has something he would like to tell you girls,” my mother says, lips pinched together. She is relaying this to us, from messenger to mes- senger. Softening the blow of blows. We sit in a piece of crap camper my Dad took on a trade because someone couldn’t afford to pay him for the hay crop. We sit here on late 60’s musty smelling upholstery somewhere over the Canadian border near Banff. Near the icefields. Where people go and don’t come back.
“What Dad?” my sister says. She throws the bologna in the cooler.
“We’re out of money,” he announces. He mumbles something about the metric system and turns out gas is not cheap, it’s just sold by the liter.
My mother takes a brush to my hair and starts to weave a tight braid. Something she does when she’s stressed. “Hold still,” she says.
“That there is what we’re gonna eat until we get home,” my Dad says. “That?” my sister whines. “But I want Chinese!”
My mother takes the twist off the Wonder bread and grabs a slice of pro- cessed bleach white bread. It nearly glows.
“Yeah, well, we all wanted Chinese,” my mom says. “And we’re stranded in Canada with bologna. So make yourself a sandwich put some mustard on it.”