My little brother Carter’s favorite song was “Tighten Up,” by Archie Bell and the Drells. He had it all memorized. Me and Tank had to perform this routine he’d worked out on the porch or in our room or wherever to “Tighten Up.” He always got to be Archie Bell. Me and Tank were the Drells.

“What’s a Drell anyway” Tank was always wanting to know.

“I’ll tell you one thing, Tank,” I was always happy to tell him, “ A Drell don’t get paid as much as a Archie Bell.”

from If You Want Me to Stay by Michael Parker


Is it my whole life or only certain aspects? That is the metaphysical question I am considering on my way to the bakery. The streets are not crowded. People of greater depth are in churches contemplating the nature of resurrection, or else they’re at the breakfast table reading about the collapse of civilization due to climate change.

It’s great to be shallow.

The morning is still hatchling, the sunlight yolk yellow, an Archie Bell kind of day.   Why then do I have an internal button stuck on urgency, in a rush to get to the bakery? As if getting there at 8:25 rather than 8:15 is going to make a difference. That’s so Drell.

Drells aren’t good shoppers. Can’t make decisions. Fortunately in the glass cabinets there are no bad choices; I get a corn-cherry scone, a currant scone, 2 snails (blueberry spirals) 2 short bread mini-loaves. At the produce market the indecision is more viral. An Archie brunch will have fresh-squeezed orange juice but a drell will not know which of the 5 varieties of oranges at Guadalupe Market are the best juicers.   I buy 3 or more of 4 varieties. I ask the cashier which of the ones I bought are good ones and she shakes her head at all. Texas orange, she says. I pay for the ones I’ve chosen and get three more Texans. There’s no line, so that’s as simple as it sounds. Most things aren’t. Only Drells wait in lines.

Pastries put on the plate, potatoes cooked, table set, the phone rings: guests running late. I pour myself a glass of orange juice: total Archie.IMG_0001


One response to “MY LIFE AS A DRELL

  1. This is yummy on so many levels!! Such imagery evoked by the writing. I loved the trip down memory lane with the Drells. And the picture is homey, pleasing, and inviting.

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