The rumor was that Lucky Luke was once a bar tender at some tony hotel in Las Vegas, who ended up here in Crosby, Texas after losing it all and going to rehab three or four times. The other rumor was that he was running slot machines in the back room of the laundromat. The first thing I ever noticed about Lucky Lukes Laundry was the the sign over the the small change machine.
“God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.”
The change machine was a stainless steel box mounted on a squat metal pole. The dents on the front and sides of the box told me that not everyone was given the serenity to accept that their crumpled damp dollar bills simply could not be changed.
It’s a pithy verse, and I grabbed my phone to look up it’s history. It seemed like something my mother would recite, but I didn’t remember it distinctly. My phone let me know that it was written by theologian Reinhold Neibuhr. He used in in his sermons in the 30’s and 40’s, which made sense for the “greatest generation”, who seemed to be driven by pithy quotes.
It was also linked to Alcoholics Anonymous, and friends of Bill have been using the wisdom to recover since about that time. I could see Lucky Luke finding the metal sign, rusted on the edges, at some garage sale, or a going out of business sale from one of those chain restaurants that uses old signs on their wooden walls to make the food seem more home made.
My crisp dollar bills had no problem being changed into bright shine quarters. I was privileged, it seemed. I could have done my laundry at home, but I preferred to cart it out of the house. This laundry, this load, just screamed to be done at Lucky Luke’s. I could see the pink of the sheets spinning in the front load washer, seventy five cents a load did not seem like too high a price to pay to keep this load out of my nearly new Kenmore at home. Maybe I thought I needed luck more than the space of the front loaded.
Luck was not mine this month. Just three days ago, my mother had a heart attack on her way to mail a package to me. She survived and is alive and well and complaining to my brother about the nurses who keep making her walk. But the package arrived this morning. My mother, ever the child of the forties, mailed me a copy of “The Little Engine that Could.”
She believed in things, like trying hard, and if at first you don’t succeed, and rain rain go away. She believed in magical thinking. I shook my head, looking at the change machine. Mom wasn’t going to changed.
The sheets kept tumbling in front of my, foamy and pulsing, slowly turning white.
Who knew there would be so much blood with a miscarriage?