After a short career mowing lawns and throwing newspapers I finally landed a real job.
Mott’s 5 & Dime, downtown Grand Prairie, Texas…the Heart of the Metroplex
Mott’s offered a little of everything, from sewing thread to Tropical fish.
Stock-boy was my job title and proud to be working.
$1.36 cents per hour.
Remember, this was 1970 and back then that figure would buy you 3 gallons of gasoline and get change back.
It didn’t take long for the newness to wear off…my primary function was to care for all of the pet department.
A variety of birds, from Canaries to Parrots…Rodents, from Mice to Gerbils…Tropical fish from Angels to Zebras.
And Henry…a Spider Monkey, was the largest of the bunch and, as close as I came to really getting to know him, always had a disposition of someone living their life in a cage.
Mutual respect…we shared dispositions and second guessed our career choices.
We’ve bottomed out.
Working one Saturday, I took my lunch break across the street at Don Juan’s Romantic Mexican Food.
There is a bit of humor in the name, but you must know that in 2016, this drive through celebrated fifty years in business and has a special place in many hearts around these parts.
Glancing up from my premium seat at the window counter, I see one of my classmates entering the restaurant with a classmate from grade school that had moved away sometime before entering junior high school.
They had been to Mott’s to pay me a visit and directed to Don Juan’s Romantic Mexican Food Restaurant, where I sat quietly pondering my place in the universe.
Connie and Deborah took a seat and tried their best to coax me into conversation.
As a grade schooler, Connie, Deborah and I had been close…and there I sat, bottomed out with two of the sweetest, kindest girls I had ever known…between me and the door.
Life’s circumstances, teenage complexion and grooming equates self implosion, retreat…shell intact.
For years I have relived this moment as a skeleton in my closet.
I wish I could tell you how many times I have replayed this scenario over and over in my mind, seeking a better outcome. And, given the same circumstances, the outcome is the same.
I contacted Connie a week or so ago to apologized for my “Less than receptive disposition” on that day.
She didn’t recall the incident and, of course, that’s all fine.
I have remembered it enough for the both of us.
Why couldn’t I have, at the very least, offered to buy them both a good old Don Juan’s fountain Coca Cola and a Guacamole Chalupa.
There’s still time