Where My Siblings Live

by Stephen V. Rice


My three oldest siblings live in diverse locations: Naperville, Illinois; Issaquah, Washington; and Dripping Faucet, Texas.  Each of these towns has unique characteristics.



Naperville, Illinois, is a suburb of Chicago. Getting there requires passing through a toll booth and depositing $1.35. There is no other way to get there. The toll booth is unmanned and expects coins only. Credit cards and paper money are useless and will not get you into Naperville.


I don’t normally carry this much change with me, but I try to plan ahead and collect change in anticipation of the moment when I am required to pay the Naperville entrance fee. One time, when I drove up to the toll booth with insufficient change, I noticed the toll gate arm was already in the up position, so I drove through without paying. I felt dirty and cheap, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.


As I departed the toll gate, though, I could feel a million eyes on me. I was momentarily blinded by flash bulbs, as photos of me and my vehicle (a Nissan Rogue) were taken from all angles and beamed by satellite to the authorities. They would be looking for me. I imagined the Sheriff of Naperville leaning back in his chair, with a broad smile, thinking of how he will teach this out-of-town Rogue a lesson.


Well, my sister came to my rescue. She went to a web site and paid the fee for me, where I believe she also had to type out a 200-word apology. She explained that I meant no harm by my transgression and was simply an out-of-towner who didn’t understand the ways of Naperville.


A couple weeks later, I had a strange dream. I learned from the dream that when a resident of Naperville dies and takes life’s exit ramp, he or she arrives not at the pearly gates manned by St. Peter, but at an unmanned toll booth requiring $1.35, in coins.


Issaquah, Washington, is a suburb of Seattle. Issaquah is an Indian word that means “We really really like salmon.” The residents of Issaquah celebrate salmon in so many ways. There are salmon festivals and salmon races, and a special event in which men compete with bears to see who can catch the most salmon. I am told that some especially enthusiastic residents dress as salmon and dance around a bonfire at midnight.


Believe it or not, some residents name their children after salmon. For example, I have two lovely nieces named Coho and Sockeye. Four other members of Coho’s high school class were also named Coho, so it was a little confusing for their teachers. The class president was a fellow named Chinook. As you would expect, the school’s sports teams are well supported by the community. Go Fighting Salmon!


In 2016, the Issaquahians were devastated to learn that someone had vandalized the town’s bronze salmon statue. The beloved statue is the very symbol of the community. Soon, vigilante groups formed to seek justice. You don’t mess with Sammy and get away with it.



I have a brother who says he lives in Austin, Texas, but he actually lives a long way from there, in a remote desert community known as Dripping Faucet. On one of my visits, he showed me some cattle bones on his property. You could see the skull and various other bones lying on the ground. Cattle cannot withstand the withering heat, and this is where they come to die.


The Indians abandoned this area a long time ago. They called this land “No-Wa-Ta,” which means “uninhabitable.” But my brother and other pioneers have successfully established homesteads in this desolate region.


He and his family attend a nice church there named Our Lady of Perpetual Drought. His lovely daughters played on the tennis team at Dripping Faucet High School. Go Fighting Plumbers!