To Live And Love In Hawk Creek City

Hawk Creek City was incorporated in 1887 and although its population is now only 428, it is still classified as a city. In has city offices and is designated as the City of Hawk Creek. The surrounding townships all come there to vote.

The oldest living person is Edward. He turned 95 in October and although he recently moved to the nursing home in Clarice, he is still a resident of Hawk Creek City. Edward still has seven years to go to be the oldest living person on record. Christopher was 102 years old when he died a few years ago. About 2/3 of the population is over 50.

Most of the young people find Hawk Creek City a bit boring and somewhat confining. They leave as soon as they graduate and only come back for visits and the big July 4th celebration. But every five years they have an all school reunion so everyone comes back to that. The graduating classes are small so the reunions are grouped together.

I drove back through Hawk Creek City one lazy Saturday afternoon. I was driving my new car that I had just bought last week. I was sure nobody would recognize me since it had been a while since I’d been back and the new car and all.

The old Phillips station was now a convenience store with gas pumps. No longer were the boys sitting in the station watching time pass by. Rob and Gene had sold out and were running their dad’s trucking business. Rob is also the mayor, so that keeps him busy.

My business was now a cafe/pool hall. I had struggled for nine years trying to keep my grocery store in the black. The townspeople preferred driving to the bigger cities for the bargains, so I finally locked up. I had moved away and got a job in Minneapolis at a large accounting firm. I’m glad both of my parents had passed on and didn’t live to see the family business close. It was hard enough on me.

I drove by the old house that I had grown up in. It was now painted a very light gray instead of the white I had known. The family that had bought it from me had replanted the apple tree grove, and the trees were in full bloom. My mind was brought back to a spring many years ago when the original grove was in bloom.

I had just turned 18 in December and would soon be graduating. My boyfriend John was riding towards me on his bicycle. For some reason, I had a feeling of dread come over me. It was like a dark cloud passing in front of the sun.

His blue eyes couldn’t look at me as we sat down on the ground. He removed a letter from his pocket, and with shaky hands, gave it to me. He had been drafted. He was only 19 and going to war. Vietnam was a place that had sounded so far away from us. Now it was right here in Hawk Creek City, right in our apple tree grove.

My Johnny went away that summer and never came back. I guess he did come back, but in a box with a flag draped on it. My life was shattered. In the letters we had exchanged, we had talked about getting married when he came home. I was a widow before I even got married.

I stayed home after I graduated and continued helping mom and dad at the store. With me working full-time, mom could spend more time at home and dad could go on an occasional fishing trip.

They were both killed instantly five years later as they turned into our driveway after having dinner at Logan’s, the local nightclub. A car-full of teenagers came speeding up over the knoll and hit them broadside.

Joe Black, the city maintenance man, was the one who told me.(I was still at the store catching up on some bookwork.) He knocked at the back door. I opened it and saw tears streaming down this tough as nails man’s face. Somehow I got through this second trial of my young life. The townspeople were great. The support and love they gave me was fantastic. My best friend, Susan, stayed with me at night for a month.

Day by day, life got back to normal. I was now the sole owner and operator of Mason’s Food Store. My work kept me occupied. Occasionally a guy from town or one of the farmers would ask me for a date, but I always said no.

Because of the economy, there came a day when I could no longer pretend things were OK with the store. After much soul searching, tears, and planning, I locked up the family business for good. We had an auction and sold off the equipment and shelving, plus too many years of memories. I took what money was left and with the money from the sale of the house, headed for Minneapolis.

Now as I drove around Hawk Creek City, I thought about my life there and all the wonderful and unique people that called it home. Joe Black is still the city man, the man about town, as we called him. Rob and Gene will never leave, they don’t know any other place than Hawk Creek City. They are content to stay. I see Logan’s is still the hotspot in town. They serve the best food between Minneapolis and Moorhead!

My roots will always be in this small, quiet town. I spent 32 years of my life here. But now Minneapolis is my home. I have been with the same firm for 18 years. I never married, although I do sometimes date. As I crossed the railroad tracks to go back out to the highway and home, I had tears running down my face.

To Live And Love In Hawk Creek City

nahauser

Moorhead, United States

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