i A Time and a Place...: June 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Little Things Mean a Lot...

...for sure.

I recall one time I was out of a job for a while. It was in Modesto and the truck I was driving belonged to a fellow who had a brother who needed a job so he gave it to him. (Figure that one out!)Anyhow, now I was out of a job. I went to the employment office and signed up and checked the board but nothing was available. I didn't think too much about it for a while but the money kept going with no more coming in and I began to get desperate. For a couple of weeks I made the rounds; the employment office to some trucking company to the employment office to etc, etc, and, oh yes, did I mention, 'etc?'

Then a bad thing happened. I got into a rut and became so discouraged and depressed by not finding a job right away that I just stopped looking. There were a few days when I didn't even get out of bed until the afternoon. It seemed no one knew what to say to me or do about my situation and neither did I, so I just sort of gave up.

I remember drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and playing solitaire and that was about it. Finally my wife asked me if I was ever going to look for work anymore and I told her to shut up and mind her own business and she did stop asking. Of course, the kids needed to eat and the rent needed to be paid but, for whatever reason, that didn't seem to matter to me anymore. All that mattered was not running out of coffee and smokes. I was about as low as I had ever been before and I stopped feeling anything except depression.

Then, guess what; a little nice thing happened that changed everything. I was the dregs of life, a complete failure and no good for anything to anybody. I was broke with very little food in the house and the rent due;-and out of cigarettes, and didn't give a shit anymore. I had had it. I was whipped.

Are you ready? One day I was looking in the closet for a clean shirt for this week. As I moved shirts and jackets back and forth, my little angel told me to look a bit more closely at my jackets. (I guess it was my little angel; it was something) I had a blue sport jacket I hadn't worn for six months or more. I took it down from the closet and took it off the hanger and slipped it on, just to feel it, I guess. The pockets on each side of the jacket had flaps over them. I slipped my hands into each pocket and they felt very cool and slick, like pure silk. I remember thinking, "Gosh, these pockets are sure clean feeling."

Then I slipped my hand into the left, inside pocket and felt something, a piece of paper. I pulled it out and it was two twenty dollar bills, folded together! My heart raced and I felt my face flush and I almost yelped out loud. I called my wife and the kids in and showed the twenties to them! We hugged each other and laughed and for the first time in a month, I actually felt happy!

Are you ready for this? The next day I went out and found a job!

You just never know about things! Sometimes just a little bitty, nice thing can change the world as you know it; usually for the better. To this day I cannot remember putting that money in that jacket pocket. I only know I hadn't worn that jacket for months. I think my angel put those twenties there and planned the whole thing to bring me back to life!

I have another story about my angel that tops this one but I'll save it for later. For right now, I am dedicating this true story to my Texas friend and his family. Maybe he or his wife will have some little nice thing happen to them. I hope so.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Eating Disorder...

A man walks into a doctor's office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. "What's the matter with me?" he asks the doctor.

The doctor looks him over and replies, "Well, for one thing, you're not eating properly."


High Intensity Training Program...

I was cleaning out my desk and came across this notice I got from a supervisor where I worked at one time. I think it's quite uplifting.

"Mr. So-and-so, (that'd be me)
You now have an opportunity to sign up for additional training. It has always been the policy of this company to assure it's employees that they will be well trained. Through our Special High Intensity Training program, (S.H.I.T) we have striven to give our employees the best in training. Because of the dedication of our instructors, our employees have received more S.H.I.T than any employees of any other company.

If any employee feels he or she hasn't received enough S.H.I.T. to advance, feel free to report that to a supervisor immediately.

Our management is trained to give you as much S.H.I.T. as you can absorb."

Signed: The Management.


Monday, June 04, 2007

A Time and a Place...Remembering When...

...we lived at Bear Creek Camp.

This is an excerpt from my Journal. This was around 1940-I was about four years old.

My family lived in a couple of farmworkers cabins at a place called,” Bear Creek Camp.” It was situated on Bear Creek, an estuary of the Merced River. We had a Jersey milk cow and a 1931 Buick car (Betsy Buick) that ran pretty well. We must have been there for a while because I remember a lot of things that happened there.

At one point the cow got loose and ran away toward the creek and we all had to chase her until she got tired to catch her. She had a huge bag and gave a lot of milk. No one ever got sick from drinking the raw milk. (I may have this Jersey Cow incident location mixed up-this might have happened at California Lands)

Mom was Fearless

Dad worked for a turkey farmer. When payday came, Dad, Mom and I went to the farmhouse to collect Dad’s pay. When Dad got out of the car and started to open the gate to go into the yard, a huge German Police dog ran at him barking and snarling with bared teeth. He wanted to eat my Dad. Dad wouldn’t go into the yard, even after Mom told him the dog wouldn’t bite him. Finally she said to get out of the way, she’d get the check, and she walked into the yard and told the dog to shut up and to go and lay down, so he did. She was fearless. She got the check.

The Bues-our future step family

The Bues were Vernon, the Dad, (who would later become my stepfather) Delia, the Mother, three boys, James, Bobby and Floyd, and two girls, Betty Jo and Joyce. Later we would call James Bue,’Big James,’ and me, ‘Little James,’ because he was older than I was.

Christmas came when we lived there. Christmas was never much about gift giving in those days. Money was too hard to come by to spend much on anything more than necessities. Floyd Bue and I were about a year apart in age, with him the oldest. We got a cap pistol and a box of caps each for a present. I recall we played together for hours with them-until the caps ran out! We would climb on top of the cabins and jump from one to another trying to catch or get away from each other. I remember we played mostly detective games, cops and robbers because the guns were of an automatic type and not revolvers used by cowboys.

One time the big boys made a pair of stilts out of two 2 by 4s and some blocks of wood and straps. Everyone wanted to walk on them but Big James made them so he got to walk on them first. When he got up on the blocks with the ends of the 2 by 4s under his arms, one of the straps broke and he fell with his armpit onto the end of one of the boards and tore the underside of his arm up. Mother put some Merthiolate on it with a bandage. It was still sore when they left.

When the Bues left, we all gathered around their car that had a trailer hooked on the back with their belongings in it. We were saying goodbye when the car pulled out. Buddy was standing near the right back seat of the car and when it pulled away, his foot went forward and went under the trailer and the trailer tire ran over his foot. It didn’t break any bones but it surely flattened his foot! We moved away shortly after that.

While we were there, my folks traded our Buick for a Star car and a sow and nine pigs. We ate very well for a while.