That Time Charles Bronson Offered To Rub Suntan Lotion On My Back

village inn

When I was in high school I worked as a waitress for ninety cents an hour plus tips. On top of going to school, I worked seven days a week at the Village Inn Pancake House. Monday through Friday it was just me and the cook from 3p – 10p. On the weekends, I worked the breakfast shift with several other waitresses (one being my older sister), serving eggs over easy and buttermilk pancakes to GI’s from the nearby Air Force Base. On a good Saturday I’d bring home $60 in tips. For a sixteen year old in 1976, that wasn’t too shabby.

On the occasional Sunday I’d work a double shift. After working from 6a – 2p, I’d pick up the 2p – 6p shift and literally work all day. One such Sunday, driving home from a double shift sent me through the windshield of a Volkswagon, but that’s a story for another day.

In the summertime, there was no school, and I didn’t have to be at work until 3p during the week so I could sleep in and still have a few hours of down time. I had recently gotten my driver’s license and had my own car – an orange 1973 Chevy Vega – and had been promising my younger sister that I’d take her and some friends to the lake. They wanted to swim and I wanted to lay out and get some sun, so we packed up the Vega and headed out one morning.

There was only one other car parked in the beach area when we arrived at around nine. There hadn’t been anyone at the guard gate to take our three dollars and I found that odd. The other car was a dark green Chevy Corvette. I’m pretty sure it was a ’72 because I noticed the two rectangular exhaust pipes and split bumper. Daddy taught me a few things about cars, including how to tell what make and model I’m looking at, fueling a lifelong admiration for design and details.

I zipped the Vega into a spot a decent distance from the Vette because there was a big burly dude standing next to the car with his arms crossed. I glanced around and saw one head bobbing in the water a short distance from the beach. I figured they were together and didn’t think too much about it. Continue reading

Let’s go to Wig’s Wag-a-Bag for an ICEE!

My three sisters and I often spent summers in Oklahoma with aunts, uncles and lots of cousins. The excitement of summertime filled us with so much light and joy we thought we might burst.

The days were barefoot lazy, and except for meals, blissfully structure-less.

We’d get up early and put on yesterday’s bathing suits – sometimes still damp from being washed out in the sink the night before. Hours were spent running through the water sprinkler, laughter filling the air. Later we’d ride bikes, play games, lay under a shade tree making whistles out of blades of grass.

Once a week Aunt Cookie would load us all into the car and we’d go to the laundry mat down the street. In our bathing suits, we found ways to occupy ourselves while the clothes tumbled in the machines.

After the clothes were dry and folded, we’d go across the street to Wig’s Wag-a-Bag for tiny brown bags of penny candy and an ICEE!

Barefoot, bathing suits, crazy hair and an ICEE. Those were the days.

Tulia

Writing 101 Assignment – Write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014.

Note: This actually happened a few years ago, but as I tried to think of someone more recent to write about for this post, Tulia kept coming to mind, so I felt it was time to tell this story.

We followed the GPS instructions along the winding roads of a sleepy neighborhood tucked into a forgotten corner of town. I’ve lived here for more than 30 years and didn’t know those houses were back there, nestled along the banks of Mary’s Creek. It was early summer – not yet sweltering hot, late in the afternoon – and we drove slowly, with the windows down, searching for the house where Jim lived. Jim’s ad on Craig’s List indicated that he had for sale a wine refrigerator that might fit exactly into the space we had in our new kitchen.

A soft breeze kissed our legs as we exited the car after parking at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. Light danced in the leaves of the trees and the low sun stretched shadows long and lean across the yard.

Before we got to the front door to ring the bell, she was there, behind us. I turned and found myself looking down at a young, barefoot girl with yellow hair wearing a light blue Laura Ingalls smock dress. There was a blue jay perched on the index finger of her right hand and a small goat standing beside her. Continue reading