I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
“No, Horseheads,” she answered, not at all exasperated, even though she has answered that question for me dozens of times.
Most of the time I either guess Corning or Elmira, and she gently corrects me. “Horseheads,” she says with a sweet smile.
There is something so incongruous about Gretchen being from Horseheads, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I try to search my memories for why this should be.
I can clearly remember the first time I heard about a town called Horseheads. It was in the early 70’s and one of the sports teams for my school had won the sectional championship which meant they advanced beyond sectional play. We were to play the winner of another section, Horseheads.
What a funny name for a town, I thought.
And then, sometime right around that same time period, I went to see The Godfather. You can guess which scene stuck in my head above all other scenes. That gruesome horse’s head in the bed. It turns my stomach still today to think about it.
Therein lies the incongruity. The town of Horseheads is linked in my mind to The Godfather. And Gretchen is about the farthest thing from the Corleone family that I can imagine. Oh, she is tough as nails when it comes to pushing the kids in the water, but she is sweet as maple syrup in the way she goes about it.
Corning is known for its glass, hand-blown beautiful works of art. Elmira is known for, hmm, I don’t know, Mark Twain maybe? Gretchen would fit into either of those place so much better than a grisly scene from a violent movie. How do I readjust my thinking?
I think I’ll just leave her where she fits. It’s the right general area.