Friday, June 19, 2015

What Goes Around, Comes Around

When my youngest son turned 16 years old, he was just beginning to drive without a parent and going through yet another stage of “I’m grown now, and I know what I’m doing”, (because believe me, there are more than one) when he and a group of friends decided to go bowling one Saturday evening. I’m sure they had a grand ole time’, I saw all the smiling and happy pictures being posted on Face Book as the evening went on. However, all of those happy times would be erased the next day, when it was revealed what a poor decision he had made.

I’ve never been quite sure why he thought we would think it was as funny and as innocent as he did, but as he told us the story, both my husband and I just stared at him like he had three heads. For whatever reason, he had thought it would be the funniest thing to take, or more accurately to steal, a pair of bowling shoes from the bowling alley the night before and even more crazy, thought that we would find it funny too!

I sat very still as that conversation led by my husband went from stealing bowling shoes to robbing banks in just two point five minutes. In the end, Zach was told he would drive himself right back to Bainbridge Georgia, return those bowling shoes and apologize for stealing them, with the promise that he would be checked-on for verification as well. There was some additional restrictions in place as well, just to make sure our point was driven home.

Often times when parents have trouble with their kids, those conversations carry-over into the work-place with other adults who have children as well. Evidently, years ago my husband had told his friend/fellow employee Johnnie Jones about those bowling shoes and everything that transpired, because the other day, when Zach was visiting Johnnie and picking-up a trailer he had been working on, somehow the subject of how Zach was raised came up and he was talking to Zach about how “tight” we as parents were and brought up that incident to Zach.

That Zach would come home and re-tell that, in addition to how much he didn’t particularly care for us or our punishment that day, those confessions/reflections are pretty rare. And, Zach remembered his Daddy telling him that it wasn’t his place to decide the value of anything that didn’t belong to him, old pair of bowling shoes or not; that the wheelbarrow in our back yard was as ragged as could be, but that it belonged to me, as it had been my grandfathers, and if someone took it simply because of its face value, I would be heartbroken.

My husband, Zach’s bonus Daddy, has always treated both of my children as his own, in good times and in the tough parenting times, and the proof is now in the pudding as they say. Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies who strive to raise their children as good people and responsible adults. Tough job – great rewards.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Watermelons, Squash and Cantalope, OH MY!

This time of year holds special memories for me: right out of high school I worked at a local Piggly Wiggly grocery store back home. I worked there about five years before I left to move on and do other things, but during that time, I learned to do a lot of different things.

I operated a cash register for the most part, and boy howdy, was that ever an interesting job. There were no scanners back then, the buggy pulled right up onto the register itself, no moving-belts existed, the cashiers were the movers, pulling out the products and punching in the prices while learning to find a groove that enabled you to never stop – just pull, punch in the price, slide it back, and pull some more.

Funny side-story: I got so good at it and had memorized so many of the prices – like pork and beans were three cans for a $1.00, etc., that I would sometimes mindlessly just be going along and not realize what my hands had gotten into. Our particular store because of its locale, carried items other stores may have not even heard of; I certainly hadn’t.  As I was working along one evening, sliding stuff up and down the register, I was blindly reaching for my next item and felt my fingers suddenly SQUISH into something.  I reactively jerked my hand back, and squealed a bit I’m sure, when I realized I had put both of my fingers into the eyeball sockets of a real hogs head from the meat department. Now I’ll just tell you this, it took me a very long time to put Brunswick stew in my mouth again without thinking about where it originated from.

For about two years of the five that I worked there, I was also able to experience the produce department. I could’ve done without the winter months, those cold, wet collards and turnips are not much fun to handle when you’re hands are already freezing. But I absolutely loved the summertime when all the wall-bins were covered with deliciously, healthy fruits and vegetables, all the colors of the rainbow and flavors the palate could imagine.  

We would buy a lot of our produce right out the back door from the local farmers, and of course, we were able to sample something of everything before we agreed to the buy. That was probably two of the healthiest years of my life – all those fresh fruits right at my fingertips. I barely even remember eating regular food once summer rolled around.

And that’s how I felt today as we entered Winn Dixie and I saw all that fresh fruit. One of our favorite young people, Montana Manley, was working in that department this morning and we asked her how the watermelons were as she was rolling a cart of pre-cut packages of watermelon to the cooler.  She guided us straight to the bin of seedless watermelons,  we bought one, and of course, and it was delicious!

Fruits and vegetables: the unsung heroes of summer!