The LeMaster Motel is a modest establishment off of North Avenue in Grand Junction, Colorado. At first glance, its sign simply projects the vintage charm marking many of the small motels on American highways, locally-owned places that offer the mildly adventurous traveller an inexpensive alternative to the blandness of the franchises and megachains.
But a closer look at the sign -- particularly, at the faint shadows to the left of the word "motel" -- can't help but provoke speculation. I mean, you can see what they were getting at; they wanted to imply both the luxury of a hotel and the convenience of a motel, and perhaps the comforts of home as well. But was there really a time when it seemed like the word "homotel" could be used with a straight face? And was "LeMaster," as in "The LeMaster Homotel," really the right name to try it out with? And in point of fact, how long was the "Ho" actually up there? And when was it painted over? I would love to know.
I ate the first tomato tonight. It was, I understand, a vine-ripened grape tomato, for those of you keeping score. From Mexico I believe. I washed it off in the sink, and then I took it and I stood out on the back porch for a while, looking around the lush green of the trees and the gardens and the grass, relishing the oppressive beauty of a hot summer night. I walked down the steps and out into the back yard in my bare feet, kicking pine cones out of the lawn, and I remembered being a child at swimming lessons, paralized out on the low diving board, too scared to jump and too scared to inch back the way I'd come, frozen, and just standing there abject and miserable and small until eventually I did jump, or at least kind of lurched off the board, and then the water was hard on impact and then kind of cold too but I survived, and I floated up to the surface, and life went on. And so I put the tomato into my mouth and bit down into it.