Spring was the best time to watch the miners parade down Coal Mountain, that's what Mother called it, parading, said they should all be singing along with Joe's little canary bird.
It was about time for them to snake around the bend in the road. The setting sun looked like a giant peach as it sat atop the mountain turning the sky from blue to gray. Where were they I wondered. By now they should be passing me by. I stood up and craned my neck. But I couldn't see them. Mother had said she could set the kitchen clock by their comings and goings. But where were they?
I stood up again, this time on my tippy toes. Sometimes I could hear them jabbering and laughing before I saw them. But no laughter. Where were they?
I walked up the road a piece. They would never stay at the mine this late in Springtime. I wondered if something might have happened. Suddenly, I got a little scared. I started to walk up the road to our house, backwards, peering out into the evening dusk to see a flickering light or hear a clanking lunch bucket. I turned and broke for the house. I had to tell mother.
I dashed into the house. "Mother, Mother. The miners haven't come home." I stopped. "Mother," I called out. No reply.
I ran through the house calling mother. She wasn't home. Where could she possibly be? Maybe she went to Chester's farm for fresh eggs. I busted out the door and up the road. As I got close to the farm I yelled, "Mother, Mother." No answer. Then I yelled, "Chester, Chester." No answer. I stood by the Chester's wooden fence and looked around. His truck was gone. Oh, my, what was I to do?
Truck, that's it. I'll go to the Movie House and get Mr. Jenkins to take me up Coal Mountain in his truck. I ran back to our house, stopped by the gate and yelled for mother. She still wasn't home. I kept on going, running as fast as I could down the main road toward town, heart pumping, lungs slamming against my chest, hoping Mr. Jenkins would be at his Movie House when I got there.
I ran out of breath and had to walk the final distance to the Movie House. Oh, no. The bright lights were off. I tested the front doors. Locked. I slumped to the ground and leaned up against the box office. Where was Mr. Jenkins?