Got a call last night. Kinda late. 8:30. Late for Mom, for sure. She was so excited. She had just come back from an evening out. She had won four times for a total of $16.25. Her losing streak was over. Bingo!
…..This from a woman on her last legs some 16 years ago.
Back then, I decided to get a job, just for some excuse to get out of the house. There’s a reason why a child moves out of the family home, when we move away from the nest at age 18 or thereabouts. I was reminded at age 50, when I moved back in.
At Publix, I lasted one day as a bag boy, before being moved to the stock crew. (In the grocery business, apparently that constitutes a promotion.)
I received a raise within weeks of starting the job. I was not a little proud. I was now earning almost as much per hour as a 12-year-old’s weekly allowance. In a poor neighborhood. “Has anybody ever gotten a raise so fast before?,” I asked the store manager. “Nobody ever asked for one that fast before,” he answered.
Working ten hours on a Sunday night – having been promoted yet again – I was approached by the sweetest 10-year-old, Shirley Temple in a Hollister hoodie. She looked around, then looked up at me, with a quizzical smile.
“Are you in charge of all the fruits?,” she asked me.
“Why, yes, I am.”
“You are one lucky man,” she says. Like an angel.
On my day off, I take my Chocolate Lab for a walk. Deep enough into the woods to see a six-foot rattlesnake and a 15-foot alligator. Thankfully on different walks. Back home, take a dip in the pool. Swim for a while. I have trained my dog, Major Crime, to do laps with me. He loves to race but he’s not all that fast. If he didn’t cheat, he’d never win.
After brunch, I set to my chores, most of which are outdoors. I get my love for landscaping from my Dad. He didn’t much like the actual work, ’cause he had done far too much of it in his earlier years. But he liked me to bring a chair outside, so he could sit and supervise. Soon that became too fatiguing. For both of us. Child-abuse can be a two-way street.
I might work around the house until 2 p.m. After a shave and a shower, I head for my cherry ’90 Mustang convertible. Deep green Seven-Up edition LX. Souped-up 5.0 engine. It’s not a mid-life crisis but I was 50 and I was single. And I was not 70. Which in this town – Sarasota - means a whole lot. In certain circles I was known as “The Kid.”
A voice rings out. It’s my mother. “Be sure you’re home by five to help with dinner.”