Copyright© 2015 by Bill Offutt
Seth Williams stood with his arm around his wife's waist, Billy holding his left hand while Jimmy held his mother's right. They were on the sidewalk across the street from the one-story, white-washed, cinder block building they had bought with Jeanne's inheritance. Men using a truck with an extended cherry picker were in the process of installing the big sign that said "Bud's Bodyshop."
"Frozen custard, don't forget, Daddy," Billy said agsin, tugging on his father's hand.
"Pretty soon, son, almost done," said Bud. "Let's wait till they hook it up. See if it works."
"Too bad the neon was so expensive," whispered Jeanne. She smiled up at the big sign.
"This is plenty good enough," Bud insisted. "It's lit inside, and they put spots up on the roof."
"I want chocolate," Billy said, squirming, pulling his hand loose from his father's grip.
"OK, OK," said his father. "Does it look straight to you?"
"Uh huh," Billy said, cocking his head to the side. "Let's go."
"I was talking to your mother. Ah, there it goes. It will look better at night."
"Terrific," said Jeanne, clapping her hands. "I love the colors, that wonderful gold."
"Ice cream, ice cream," Jimmy chanted, bouncing and clapping too.
A few minutes layer, under a young maple tree, they sat at a small metal table next to the frozen custard stand and licked at their dripping cones, Jeanne having taken a handful of paper napkins. "I sure hope we've done the right thing," Bud said, popping the last piece into his mouth. He licked his sticky fingers and his wife handed him a napkin.
"I'm sure we have," she said. "Things are booming around here, and the fellow who was your only competition moved out to Gaithersburg. The bank agreed or they wouldn't have given us such a good mortgage." She licked her lips and grinned at him as she wiped her younger son's face.
"Yeah, Gus's into a much bigger set up, twice this size I guess. He's doing great business."