Friday, May 10, 2013

It was the end of March 1995. I had graduated from college and passed my state certification for education, qualified to teach pre K through 8th grade. We lived in a small two bedroom house in Alva, Oklahoma. We loved that town, but the town did not reciprocate with paying jobs. My two year old daughter was talking up a storm and we had just had our baby boy. Both kids had been by C-section, so honestly, we were waiting on the magic 2 week healing period where Lydia was cleared to travel so we could move.

We had survived college by stretching every dime as far as it could go, and this gave us a little cash to squeak by until we landed jobs. Our little house had turned into a storage unit of neatly packed boxes by the time I rented the Ryder truck. My father came over the day before and brought a guy I could pay to help move furniture.   It's funny how your memory locks in images.  I can clearly see the frozen waterbed mattress shatter in the back of the truck.  We had loaded it the night before and had an unexpected frost.  It was a tragic loss at that time.  Did I mention it was 1995?  

We loaded the truck, waived bye-bye to Peepaw and started the new adventure. We moved across state on blind faith we could land jobs and support the new family.


 Suddenly it is 18 years later. We found jobs.  We established ourselves into the community.  We achieved the American dream and raised two healthy children.  That new born baby is taller than I am. He is a legal adult. His senior Prom is this weekend (His final prom) and he plays 2 roles in the High School musical Little Shop of Horrors, which includes the voice of the plant, Audrey II. Yes he will sing in public! Then 6 short days after that he will walk across the stage and receive a diploma for graduating High School!

That is where irony steps forward. The day after graduation we are loading a long trailer, and moving back to Alva! Peepaw will haul the trailer, Lydia, Amanda and Colin will each drive a car and I will drive my old truck back across state to our new home. Amanda is in her final year of college and Colin will start his first year of college. The same college where both parents graduated, and met each other, and started a family.

Time for a new chapter in this story.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fictional Tale of Working Man Woes

The rancid odor of heavy Cajun spices spewed into my face as he leaned into my personal space. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" he demanded. If he hadn't backed away I could probably identify half the ingredients of his homemade Gumbo. I had met up with Roger at Wal-Mart during a six week contract to reset the store. It seems Wal-Mart treats assistant managers as bad as or worse than they treat the illegal Mexicans workers on payroll. Every year or two they get a note that they will be shipped to another town to supervise a crew of locals in moving everything in the place for the inconvenience of area shoppers. They are in foul moods and take it out on the special contract workers, all of whom end the work contract vowing to never work for Wal-Mart ever again. Somehow, staff found a way to abbreviate the title of Assistant Managers to Ass-Man and for Roger, the title fit. “I’m blowing my nose,” I said through a Kleenex tissue. “All the dust in the warehouse has my sinuses going crazy.” Roger stared hard at me then spit like the Big League chewing gum he filched out of the damaged merchandise box was real chewing tobacco. While Wal-Mart liked assistant managers to have a college degree, they don’t have high expectations for intellect, and Roger could have been a recruitment poster. This is your future after five years of playing baseball at Southwestern Oklahoma State University! Most of the “Ass-Man” guys complained they worked so much uncompensated overtime they made less than the sub-minimum wage wetbacks. Having only worked for Wal-Mart for the past eight years, Roger had yet to do the math. “Ain’t nobody ever tell you that shit’ll cause your dingus to fall off?” He demanded like a Drill Sargent at basic. “Blowing my nose?” “Hell yes, blowing your goddamn nose! One of the basics you learn in health science classes for real coaches, is using tissues cause a nasal backlog that can get infected and shit. This cause’s bad mojo to build up that’ll result in your dingus falling off.” “I have never heard blowing your nose is bad for you, or that it could affect a guys eh…” “Dingus goddmnit! No reason to be afraid of talking about your pecker while you still got one! You DO still have one, don’t cha?” he leaned in close again to ask the final question. The conversation had gone far enough. “Look Roger,” I said. “I appreciate the concern but this conversation is making me uncomfortable and I know HR does not want us talking about reproductive body parts.” “Well I be go to hell!,” Roger said in wonderment as he pushed the Wal-Mart baseball cap to the back of his head and sat on a packing box. “It’s either already done fell off or it’s always been too tiny to worry about!” “My dingus is just fine, I just don’t feel comfortable talking about this,” I replied hotly. “Lookey here kid,” Roger said in sincere tones. “I am trying to pass along the benefits of my collected wisdom. Now what I told you is a medical fact. Just think about it, real men just cover a side of their nose and blow without tissue. That’s a man’s method to protect his dinky, and if you ain’t careful you’re gunna lose your favorite lil toy.” I squirmed uncomfortably but did not reply. It seemed Roger was on a roll. “I mean, sure ain’t nobody but you wanted to touch it so far, but I got confidence that one day you will find a cute lil girl drunk enough to have a real by-God interest in you! She’s gunna get all worked up and petting will lead to kissing and kissing will lead to loss of clothes and then she will stop in shock and disappointment when she sees you gotta dinky-don’t instead of a dinky-do! And all cause you didn’t wanna listen to old Roger here.” He took a deep breath, and seeing I wasn't going to interrupt, "Just think of the mental shock in store for you one of these nights when you're just tugging away and suddenly you notice it came off in your hand! I can tell you right now doctors ain't got a stitch small enough to sew that little thang back on! If you gotta blow, blow like a man!" Roger got up off the box and looked satisfied with his good deed lecture for the day. I could only assume the little work break was over, since he walked away towards another group of contract workers and I silently vowed to myself to never again work for Wal-Mart.