elloree (elloree) wrote,

My Grand Adventure

I grew up in South Carolina. We lived about 3 miles from Elloree and about 6 miles from Santee. When I was a boy, going to town was a big thing. We didn’t just head that direction every day. And when we did go, we already had in mind what we planned to do. The 5 & 10 was the only place in town with an ICEE machine, and that was always on the list. There was no movie theater, no computers or video games, and we had never even dreamed of the idea of a cell phone. So, a simple pleasure like an ICEE was a big thing. And since we only appeared in town every now and then, we had to be clean and dressed nice. If we looked bad and didn’t come back to town for another two weeks, folks might think we were white trash; just based on that one time they saw us.

I had to go to town this week. It’s hard to get away from your raising, and I just can’t bring myself to got to town any more than necessary. And when I do go, I got me a long list of things to take care of so that when I get back home and to my shop, I don’t have to leave again for another week or two. I took care of everything on my list, like I always do, but this turned out to be a most unusual trip. My reclusive nature makes me avoid people as much as possible, and just stick to the business at hand. And especially during this H1N1 flu season, I want people to stay away from me. In my work, there’s no medical insurance, no sick days, no nothing. If I don’t stay on the job and work, there will be absolutely no money coming in. But sometimes, for reasons beyond my understanding, I feel like being friendly. I don’t know why. It just happens like that sometimes. And this was one of those days.

In this life, there is one prescription pill I have to take. My thyroid has been on the skids for years. The law says I have to have my blood checked once a year to make sure my dosage stays right. Since that blood-taking place opens at 7:30 a.m., it was first on my list. Even though I was genuinely feeling friendly that day, I always start chattering when somebody pulls out a needle and looks at me. I guess I’m trying to occupy my mind with something other than the inevitable. So I told the nurse about how my dad, my brother, brother-in-law, and I, we’re all wood workers. And then I asked her what got her into the medical profession. She had an interesting story and I could tell she was glad to share it.

Everybody down at the post office knows me. I’ve been taking my instruments to those folks for 7-8 years now. So we always get talking about something. And these postal workers at the windows have done it all so many thousands of times that they can talk and work at the same time. For some reason, the people standing in line think it’s like the library. They think you’re supposed to be quiet – until I get there! When I come bustin’ up in there and talking to the employees, everybody figures out it’s an open conversation, and they get in it too. I don’t know how long it keeps going after I leave, but I like to think I get something started. I met a banker lady in line that morning and she told me stuff about a debit card. Since I’ve never had a debit card, everything she told me was something I did not know.

Now those folks who take my blood don’t want me to eat breakfast before I come. They say the reading is more accurate if I don’t eat anything 12 hours before they draw blood. It’s not the going without food that’s so bad, but it’s the coffee. When the Almighty made the coffee bean, He had me in mind. Sherry, being the motherly type that she is, gave me $5.00 so I could go to McDonald’s for breakfast. I tried to assure her I had money for breakfast, but she insisted. She felt bad because I cooked her breakfast, even thought I couldn’t have any of it. So I went by McDonald’s and paid with the $5.00 she gave me. Since I don’t eat out much, I couldn’t remember when was the last time I had gone by McDonald’s for breakfast. I sat facing a window as I ate my breakfast. I saw an Oriental man coming across the parking lot. After he was in the building, I looked and there was his wife coming across the parking lot. He had just walked off and left her. Oh Hell No! My girl and I hold hands when we’re up town, and I open the door for her. I didn’t have much time to think. I wanted to get up and hold the door open for this lady, but I gotta tell you, I don’t know how Orientals think. I didn’t want to offend the man. I went to a black church for about 7 years, so I have a little bit of an idea about how black folks think. Well, before I could figure out what to do, she was in the building. I went back to eating.

I looked up again and there were 3 little old senior citizen ladies coming across the parking lot: one black lady and two white. I could see that they were together. When they got close I got up and held the door for them. The idea of holding a door open for a lady was already on my mind. I spoke to them: they thanked me, and they figured out that chivalry was not dead. And I went back to eating. Angie came in and we talked a little bit. I don’t know many people, so I can’t afford to pass up speaking to somebody I do know.

As I was finishing up, the Oriental man passed me on his way out. I looked back and saw that when he got finished eating, he got up and walked off and left his wife to clean off the table. I was about to throw away my trash, so I kinda’ lingered a little bit so I would get done just ahead of her. I didn’t want to look obvious, so as I was walking out, I gave the impression that I just happened to look back and see her. So I held the door for her. She got a big smile on her face and thanked me, and patted me on my arm, and then my back, and then my little hiney butt. I was able to keep it together until I got back to my truck, and then I sat there and laughed. It struck me as funny. And then I thought about her husband. That little ass rub could have been his if he would have been a gentleman.

Well, I’m not going to expect my twice a month trips to town to be that eventful. Before you know it, my friendliness will wear off and I’ll get back to normal. But, here’s a bit of truth. I don’t get cleaned up and dressed up to go to town the way I did when I was a boy. People up town who know me might see me and think I’m domestic. And how would that look?

Makin’ sawdust & Diggin’ the music
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