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Thursday, October 30, 2014

JOE'S DINER - Chapter 6

I received an offer from a West Coast company with international connections and they wanted someone who knew the Chinese language and something about the business culture in China.

I told them they should get someone from the China mainland with an American college education. They would be far ahead of me in dealing with the Chinese business men.

They insisted they wanted me for they had already tried to do it the way I suggested.

It seemed it was hard for them to not look to the Chinese interest above ours and left us in a weaken position in negotiations.

They upped the salary and a longer contract to where I would make three times the salary I was making now.

I told them I would be finished with this semester in four weeks and then if they still wanted me; to send me the contract for me to look over.  If I found everything as was stated; they could make arrangements to move.

The contract arrived and I had an attorney friend look it over.  He said it was straight forward and spelled out everything in black and white.

The salary and benefits were all laid out and easy to understand with the term to be five years. They had offered me the choice of three houses to choose from all in upscale neighborhoods with great schools nearby.

I signed the contract and sent it Fed-X back to them. I must admit I was getting a little excited about the whole thing.

I notified Abby about the move but she never responded. I know she received it for she signed for it. She long ago had written herself out of our lives.

While it was not easy to grasp but the reality was; she had so immersed herself into other people’s problems she had no life of her own.

There was one more problem I had to deal with and that was Jessie’s nanny. She had insisted on calling her mommy when she was learning to talk and I never prompted her to stop it.

Our nanny was aware of what was going on and knew we would be leaving her.  I tried every way I knew to convince her to go with us but she had family here and her mother was almost bedridden at this stage. She said she would stay with her mother and already had several families that wanted her to work for them.

She said losing Jessie was almost too difficult to bear but she had gone through it with some other children in the last thirty years.

She said she had a young niece in Seattle where we were going and she had decided to be a nanny for she loved kids.

She said the girl had been a wild young thing growing up, but her sister assured her that was a thing of the past and she had settled down and could be trusted.  She wanted a full time position as a live in nanny.

Soon after, I called her mentioning that her aunt had given me her number.  I would like to meet her and might be interested if she proved to be the kind of person I wanted.

I must say I was impressed with her on the phone and her credentials were certainly impressive; three years of college and several part time jobs with sterling references from each.

I asked her why she wanted to live in and she said that was the way her Auntie did it but the real reason was it cost so much to live on her own.  

We agreed to meet in a couple of days and after Jessie had met her, I would make my decision.

The hardest part of this whole transaction was Jessie giving up her “Mommy.”  Our Nanny had raised Jeanie virtually from birth and I had to let her nanny deal with this for she understood “her baby” even better than me.

After explaining to Jessie that Nanny’s mother was ill, and she had to care for her and her niece would be taking her place; Jessie began to accept it as a fact of life and began to look forward to meeting her new nanny.

With that behind me I was ready to make our move. The movers came and were loaded up by the end of the day and pulled out for Seattle.

Jessie and I went directly to the airport caught our plane, and arrived in Seattle about ten that night.  A limo was waiting for us and took us to the hotel we were to stay at until our furniture arrived.

The next morning we met with Lacy for breakfast and they hit it off right away.  She looked to be perfect except for one thing. She was way too pretty for a live in nanny and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that but she met all the qualifications and was CPR certified.

One thing I knew was something was stirred that had been pretty well dormant since my divorce and it left me ill at ease.

After breakfast I asked Jessie how she felt about Lacy being her new nanny and living with us, hoping a bit that she would say she didn’t want her.

She said in Chinese, “She is wonderful.”

Lacy said, ‘What did she say?” for she heard me ask about her.

“I said you might have to learn Chinese but I’m sure Jessie will teach you.”

“You mean she likes me?”

“Most assuredly she does.”

I had to meet with the top officials of the company so I asked Lacy if she and Jessie would be alright till later this afternoon and she said, “Of course we will,” and Jessie said, “Of course we will.”

I said if they needed anything they could charge it to the room including some shopping at the hotel shops.

Two Secretaries
My meeting with the top men went well. They laid out what they expected from me and said I had my pick of secretaries and if I needed two just select the ones I wanted.

I went over the pool of secretaries and saw two were Chinese. I called them in one by one and found that both spoke the same dialect of Chinese I do.

I notified the head of the department and said these two are to be considered my private secretaries and paid as such.

I told the secretaries to set up my office as if I was Chinese and to only speak Chinese in our dealings unless an English speaking person was present.  I explained that my mind set must accommodate thinking as a person of Chinese culture.

I said this is difficult to explain, but they both said they understood and would help me with the proper words and accents.

I really felt good about how things went so far.

I picked up the car they provided for me and it was excellent, and superior to the one I sold before coming here.

I managed to get back to the hotel and have lunch with the girls and then it was time to meet the realtor to look at houses.  When we started looking at the three we had to choose from Lacy chimed in as one of the family, and Jessie wouldn’t leave her side.

The girls selected the house they were partial to, and the realtor said if we liked it, we could purchase it at a later date.  I could have been satisfied with any of the houses for they were all fine and upper class. 
 To be Continued


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Joe's Diner - Chapter 5

My Continued story resumes - -
My daughter Jessie and I would visit Chinese Families
Abby’s family insisted we have a reception. In fact they had already made the arrangements and invited people.  Things went pretty well at the reception.

You know how it is when you are put on display while meeting the family. Some of the older ones couldn’t remember whether it was her or me who was the blood relative and who was the in-law.

After a while Abby stood up and said, “If anyone hasn’t met my husband, stand up dear, this is him.  Now you young ladies don’t you mistake him for one of these fine looking single men walking around here for he is taken and he is mine.  
As far as what we will be doing it starts like this. We will live at my place temporally and he will begin teaching at the university. I have just started working for a large corporation counseling the staff with problems that affect their work output.”

I took the microphone and said, ‘This message especially pertains to any old want-a-be boyfriends - - just stay away.

For the first month we told everyone we do not need any company and after that we will see… It’s not that we don’t love you but getting settled in with our new jobs and getting used to each other requires some time.

The spare time during the next week was spent sending out thank you notes for all the wedding gifts we received.

For the next year we were into each other till she became pregnant and ever so slowly things began to change.

She was studying advance psychology alone with working part time and being pregnant made it difficult to keep up with her studies. The end of the semester came just before the baby came and she managed to get a passing grade.

She wanted to name the baby girl Jenny but I wasn’t happy with that for it reminded me of the diner and the pain associated with it.

We settled on Jessie which I thought fit her nicely. Abby nursed the baby for about three months and then switched her over to the bottle. At first the babe didn’t adjust to the formula and lost some weight but finally began to gain again. Meanwhile we had hired a live in nanny because Abby had a job offer to work for the State.

With the nanny’s help Jessie began to gain weight back she had lost. Abby worked a full shift and then in the evenings took classes to continue to upgrade her degrees. She was positioned at a State facility for women and was counseling some of our nation’s worst offenders.

She took everything as a challenge and wouldn’t give up on any of them. After her shift she had volunteered to counsel young women from the local church outreach.

When she arrived home each evening she was exhausted and went straight to bed. She seldom spent any time with Jessie and when I challenged her on that she would reply; that’s what the nanny is for isn’t it.

I spent the evenings with Jessie and we were good friends whereas she hardly knew her mother. All the passion went out of our life and almost never were we intimate. Then it was only after me demanding she give in.

I was hoping we could rekindle the flame we had when first married but she wasn’t interested and the thought of it was repugnant to her.

This went on for three years and then she was offered a job in another State as chief counselor at the state prison. She said we would have to move for she wanted the job very badly.

I told her, please not do it and she said she was sorry but had already committed to take the job.

We talked late into the night. Sometimes calm and sometimes heated but I could not change her mind.
We decided the only solution to this issue was to divorce and of course I would have to take Jessie for she had no time or interest in raising her.

Since I returned from China I had been teaching English and related subjects like writing and editing.

I also started studying Chinese and different dialects of the language. Jessie and I would visit many Chinese families and spend the evenings with them speaking only the Chinese dialect they spoke.

Writing the language was still beyond me but I could speak different dialects with a certain amount of ease.

We rarely heard from Abby. She would telephone and on occasion she would send Jessie a card which by now she would just throw it in the garbage without reading it.

I would retrieve it just to see what she was doing if she told about it in the letter.

Jessie had picked up a bit of the Chinese language from our time with the Chinese families and her playing with their children so we would speak Chinese at home part of the time.

My divorce had long since been final and my time with Abby was fast fading in my mind.

To be Continued

Monday, October 27, 2014


This short story is shared at: “Tell Me a True Story.”
My continued story will follow.

God's Best Gifts are Spiritual
It is still October in the year 2014 but parents are already considering what to buy their children for Christmas.
This is in part due to the suggestions being made by their children.
“The best is scarcely good enough for my kids,” is the thought in many parent’s minds limited only by their economic status.
Of all the gifts my children received while under my care was first the “Gift of salvation and secondly the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”
As parents we can only do as the farmer does which is to “Lead a horse to water” and hope he drinks.
Teaching our children about these most wonderful gifts from GOD is the task set before all parents.
Due to some debate among the self-proclaimed wiser ones among us the true gift of the Holy Spirit has been diminished yet still retains much of its variableness.

Through study of God’s Word, one seeks to discover the true nature of what the scripture calls this spiritual baptism; without all the theological bias. 
It isn’t easy for those who have become “faith challenged” by the aforementioned self- proclaimed men of wisdom (Men of knowledge but void of experience) for they will have a steeper hill to climb.
Being “Born again” in a Pentecostal Church I wasn’t hindered by said bias and entered into both experiences with the encouragement of those around me.
My wife and I raised our children in a similar environment and saw them seek for themselves a like experience as we had received.
Only they can relate what their experience means to them but they have continued to follow the Spirit’s leading on their own without being prodded by us their parents.
In reading Acts 1:8, I think of it as saying “My children will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they will be witnesses unto Jesus.”
It is the responsibility of the parent to make them aware that the gift of the Holy Spirit is available to them in all its fullness.

This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”



JOES DINER - - Chapter 4

The new Highway 80 put the Diner out of Business - -
After four more weeks Joe was up and around and I could see my time was almost over for which I was glad.

My grades were suffering because of having little time to study and I had absolutely no social life.

The young waitress, Abagail had greatly improved and could now hold her own with the crude patrons that ate there. She was off at seven having come on at eleven.  I only mention this because it was an odd shift. Things really slowed down after seven o’clock and I could handle most everything after that.

Joe said he was up to coming back and handling the cooking again so I told him I would like to be relieved of my duties if he was ready to take over. He said with Missy’s help he would be okay so that was it for this session.

Strange as it seems I had very little contact with Missy for her shift was over a short time after I came on.

To celebrate I took Abby out for an evening for she had done a good job and I appreciated her efforts.  We had become friendlier after the issue with the motorcycle gang.  From then on she knew she could depend on me to watch her back.

That more or less ended my relationship with the diner except on occasion seeing someone who worked there.

Upon leaving no one thanked me for filling in while Joe was sick. In fact Abby was the only one who said goodbye to me.

As I left I advised her to get out of there for I could see it was going from bad to worse. The people Missy was hanging out with were trouble waiting to happen.

Skipping forward some, highway 80 opened and this reduced the diner business to locals only. About half of the diner’s business was from people traveling on Rte. 66 which was now down to a few cars with people who were lost and trying to find Rte. 80.  

With Joe not doing well once again the burden was placed on Missy.  She began to take up with the wrong crowd who pretty much took the diner over.

Every so often there were raids by the D.E.A. and missy had been hauled down to the jail on many occasions. She finally had to spend time in the county jail and the diner was closed up.

Joe and Jenny ended up being cared for by the county which was sad but at least they were out of a bad situation.

Missy had joined in with the drug dealers and had aged fast.  Soon men will not want to have anything to do with her and she will be on the streets.

The diner had moved on and so had I.

~ ~ ~

I moved to the large city where the college I was attending was located and made it to my last year.

I by chance came across Abby and found she was a freshman at the same school I was attending. She filled me in on what was going on with the diner before she took my advice and left.

It was pretty much as I had heard and now it was closed. Her folks had moved to the city where I was and I renewed acquaintances with them.

I had decided to get my teaching credentials upon graduating and start teaching English so I became a teacher’s aide the last few months before getting my degree and was offered a position upon graduating.

Seemly my life was destined to be a dull existence. I mingled among the academia and was accepted there but I felt I had to have a bit more excitement in my life.

I discussed this with the dean and he suggested I sign up for the outreach program the college had in some other nations.  After some thought, I agreed to do that.

Shortly after that I was flying to a major city in China. Upon arriving I thought this might be more than I bargained for.
I agreed to work there for one year which was twelve months not nine as in the states.

By the end of the year with the help of a translator I managed to get my classes to be able to converse in English and by then I could understand enough Chinese to get by.

During the year I kept in contact with Abby and I found that you could do a lot of courting by mail.

I decided to continue my teaching for another year which was Abby’s final year in psychology. She wanted to be a counselor so she took several related courses along with her major to prepare her for the future.

During my first year teaching in China I managed to get my masters and was now working on my doctorate. Teaching in this country made it easy for subject matter and was of interest to the board of directors.

Toward the end of the year I got up enough nerve to ask Abby to marry me upon my return to the states. She said we could discuss it when I returned.

I didn’t know if that was her way of saying no or if she really wanted to have a frank discussion about it. On the flight home I realized I had only kissed her once or twice. Once for sure when I left for China and I wasn’t sure about another time.

Perhaps a paper romance wasn’t enough for her. It satisfied me but I wasn’t sure about her. She flew to San Francisco to meet me so we could spend some time together before returning home. She had got us a room with two beds and it overlooked the bay and Alcatraz.

I asked her if we should have two rooms and she said, “No, it’s not necessary.”

This left me with thoughts I never expected to have. One of which was I wondered how liberated she had become.

I concluded what has happened, happened, and what happens, happens.

 The next week was filled with sightseeing and a lot of talking. I decided to get right to it and started to kiss her at every opportunity. At first she was a little standoffish but that didn’t last long. As the days went by the decision was made to be married… soon.

It was time to return to our home city and she said we will fly to Las Vegas and spend a couple of days after getting married there and then on to home.
The time at Vegas was much too short even though we stayed three extra days but I figured we could make up for it when we arrived home.

Arriving home we were met by Abby’s family.  We spent the evening answering questions about the last two years and how our courtship had progressed long distance.

We said it was different due to the fact we could say the things we wanted to without being interrupted or intimidated. We discussed some intimate things in our letters and I wondered how that would play out when we met.

By the time our last letters came we found that we had moved on beyond any intimate content and acted as if it never happened.

The one drawback had been I was never much of a poet so I had to make plain language do but it eventually got the message over and demonstrating in person what I had wrote about finalized our romance.

Since I didn’t have a picture with me and she was reluctant to send me one I had to use the image of her in my mind when I composed my messages to her.  Neither of us wanted to be too forward in what we put on paper and would only respond to what the other had just written so everything moved slowly.

Toward the end I decided to risk it and ask her to become my wife. Even then she was hesitant to say yes but from the way she acted in San Francisco I think her mind was made up.

To tell the truth it was like meeting a stranger for a couple of minutes after being apart for over two years. But I wanted to kiss her and when I did that was all it took to break down any reservations either of us may have had.

After our - - - I do’s” in Vegas I discovered something I never suspected and that was I had married a very passionate woman.

More passion than I thought she was capable of and I think she even surprised herself…

To be Continued

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joe's Diner - Chapter 3

I needed a job for the summer so I got a job on a farm working in the harvest.  Joe said I could work at the restaurant but I wasn’t quite ready for that.

Missy and I were getting along rather well at the present but there was still a bit of sharpness at times and I didn’t want to do something to set her off again.

Farm work was different from anything I had ever done. I was working in the midst of foreign people whose language I didn’t understand.

After a week I was promoted to driving a truck, and I had no problem with getting my load and then hauling it to the cannery.

The farmer had a daughter who had been in the same class as I had been at school, but I only knew her first name until I began to work on the farm.

She would come over and talk to me sometimes at lunch. She said she was enrolled at one of the more expensive colleges and I told her I was taking the less expensive route.

By the time the harvest season was over I got to know her pretty well.  We had soda’s and lunch on Sunday a couple of times but I knew as soon as she left for college, my memory of her would fade fast.  Knowing this kept me at arm’s length and there wasn’t any closeness involved the whole summer.

I received one letter from her three weeks after classes began and that was it. In the letter she stated she had many guys wanting to date her and she said she had sorted out most of them as being a waste of time.

She said she had a list that she would start working through and expected she would find someone who was fun to be with.

I wrote back a short note saying that sounded like a plan to me.

She came home a couple times a year but spent her time with family and girlfriends. I only saw her to wave at on the street.

Even with a heavy load I spent a less time in class than I had in high school but more time in the library.

This was the year that Missy graduated from High School, and I left Jr. College and went to State for my final two years.

Before classes started I met Missy for lunch and we talked about the coming year.  She was going to the Jr. College I just finished and was going to go for an accounting degree. She wanted to get a job with the I.R.S. if she could, and I thought that was a good choice if she had to support herself.

I had decided long ago to just get a B.A. and see what developed from there.

Dad gave me an old car so I could drive to the college and I also received a couple of scholarships to help pay my tuition.

Then something happened to interrupt Missy’s plans. Joe was injured in an auto accident and she had to take over the restaurant and run it.

Things in life were not set up for this to happen.

I had a job working at the college after my classes so I wasn’t available to help her, or so it seemed.

Missy’s mother wasn’t cut out to deal with the cast of characters that frequented the diner. This left it all up to Missy to hold everything together.

Joe was supposed to be on his feet in a couple of months but meanwhile Missy had far more than she could deal with. The guy who was helping Joe cook was trying to get the orders out quickly but without much success and Missy had to hire a young girl to serve as waitress so she could take over the cooking.

I was going to classes a half day and then working four hours but I volunteered to relieve Missy from five till nine at closing. This way she only had to work from five thirty till five each day.

Then on Saturday I worked all day until closing at six.  She was still being overworked but it was the best I could do to help her.

The waitress was just out of high school and wasn’t up to dealing with some of the people who frequented the diner.

One night after I had been working there a month, four guys rode up on motorcycles and came in and took a booth. They looked like trouble from the git-go.  When the waitress came to get their order they started to paw her and I had to step in.

I asked, “Well fellows what can I get for you?”

They said, “Send that waitress back over, because we want her to take our order.

I said, “She has other duties but I will serve you.”

They started to act up and I had my hand on a blackjack ready to deal with them.  Then one of them said, “Don’t I know you?”

I looked closer at him and said, “Sure you do, Howie.”

He then went into telling them we were friends when we were kids.

I called to the waitress and said for her to get four beers from the frig in the rear and put them on the counter.  This wasn’t for sale it was Joe’s when on occasion he would have a bottle when it was hot.

I served them the beer myself for I didn’t want the girl coming near them again.

As they were drinking their beer I said, “Well what looks good on the menu, how about some steaks with the trimmings?”

They agreed that sounded good, “And how do you want them?” I asked.

While they were eating I asked, “Which one of you is riding the Honda? Three of you are riding Hogs and one a Honda if my ears don’t deceive me.”

One of the guys said, “It’s me. My brother wanted me to try it out and see what I thought about it.”

I said, “Swell.”

He said, “It is smooth and faster than my Hog but doesn’t have the sound and feel of my Harley.”

I said, “That’s what I thought.”

Conversing with them calmed the situation down. They paid and left, it was over with no one hurt.

To be Continued

Friday, October 24, 2014

Joes Diner - Chapter 2

Finally I settled for a job in a soda shop and was called a soda jerk.

Here I got to see a lot of the kids I went to school with and listen to them discuss the games I wasn’t good enough to play in.

Strangely enough it didn’t really bother me that I wasn’t good enough to make the team especially when several were walking around on crutches and years later they still walked with a limp.

From time to time Missy would come in the soda shop and I would ask the other soda jerk to serve her.

Then one day I was working alone and she came in so I was stuck having to serve her.  I said, “What can I get you?”

She said she wanted to have a milkshake.

I asked what flavor would she like and she said something strange for her. She said, “You decide.”

After a moment I said, ‘Well; I know your favorite is chocolate so how about a chocolate shake?”

She looked at me and said; “Make it strawberry.”

That didn’t take long and I could see she was still the same old Missy so I smiled and said; “Strawberry it is.”

I quickly made the shake and gave it to her and went to the back room.

The owner came in about that time and wanted to know what I was doing leaving a customer alone in the shop. I said, “Well the truth is I didn’t want to associate with her.”

He said I should find another job and to come by Saturday and get my pay.

I removed my white jacket and took my coat and left.  I knew she heard the whole conversation but we didn’t speak as I walked out of the shop.

Since I had a bit of free time I spent it in the library studying for my classes. This paid off for me for I got the first straight A report card ever.

I saw Missy every so often, but the only time I spoke to her was in the soda shop.

I couldn’t figure out why she disliked me so much.  I had never intentionally done anything to harm her.  I guess some people just tick others off for no reason.

Then came graduation day.  I picked up my gown and the wind was blowing and as I rounded the corner the wind blew the gown over my face and I bumped into someone. As I unwound the gown from my eyes I realized I had bumped into Missy.

We stared at each other for what seemed to be a long time and then I apologized to her for bumping in to her. Then she surprised me by speaking to me in a normal voice and said, “You are graduating today with honors I hear.”

I said, ‘Yeah I guess so.” and turned to go when she said, “I’m sorry.”

Those were words I never had heard her say.
Several years of things that had happened flashed through my mind and I wondered which one she was talking about or was she just setting me up for some kind of insult.

She went on and said, “I’m sorry for being so mean over the years and causing you to lose your jobs.”

I didn’t know what to say to that.  All the years I had known her she never acted like that.

I said, “Thank you but it was my fault in both cases.”

She said, “My father and mother are coming to your graduation and if you don’t object I will come to.”

I said, “Sure I would be honored to have you all there.”

She asked, “Are you going to continue your schooling.?”

I answered, “Yes but only at the local level.  I have applied for some help but so far no one has responded so it will be junior college at first and then the university if I do well.”

“Do you know what you are interested in yet?”

“Yes it looks like political science and perhaps law school after that.”

“What kind of law would you go into?”

“I suppose whatever would pay my bills but my preference would be a defense attorney.”

“Why that?”

“Because most of it is finalized through negotiation and it gives you a chance to argue your points and I like to do that.”

She said, “You never argued with me when I was wrong.”

“Humm, well it’s like this, as long as I let you win you went away happy, but if I had argued with you and won you would have hated me even more and I didn’t want that;  It wasn’t that I didn’t have any feelings to be hurt I just didn’t want to make you feel the way I did.
Then there was your father and mother to consider so I let you vent yourself in my direction hoping you would grow out of that attitude eventually.  
When I was let go that solved my problem and I hoped it made you feel better. Anyway that is all behind us if you want it to be and we can have a new start.”

She began to cry and said; “What must you have thought of me acting so mean like that?  What made it so much worse was I really did like you and when you told those men you were my boyfriend I couldn’t handle it for that would have made me look far worse than I was.  

No one would treat a friend the way I treated you.”

I had to settle these issues once and for all so I said, “Are you ready to start over? Because I am - - -.”

She said, “I would like to just be friends if that is okay with you,” and she gave me a hug.

I knew then that the past was over for she would never let me this close to her before.

To be Continued


Thursday, October 23, 2014

JOE’S DINER - Chapter 1

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Joe’s Diner is a café on route 66 at the edge of town that Joe started some five years ago.

Joe was a massive man at this stage of his life. He had served four years in the army during the big war and ended up as a cook.  

Both at boot camp and in the field you had to move depending on who was advancing, the enemy, or our units.

Shells had hit near the cook shack more than once and trying to keep hot food for the troops wasn’t easy.

Joe had involved himself in martial arts, wrestling and boxing while stationed at the boot camps and had won everything he participated in.

When the war ended he stayed in the army a couple more years for they offered to send him to culinary school for reenlistment.  While at the culinary school he met and married a lady named Jenny who was also enrolled but who was a school teacher.

He asked why she was going to culinary school if she was employed as a school teacher, and she said she loved to cook and wanted to improve her skills.

Besides the culinary classes were just for the summer while school was out and later she could take some evening classes.

He asked her if she didn’t go on dates and she told him, not very often because she had other interests.

Joe, even though he was a large man he was very reticent when it came to women.  It was in part because he respected them and in part because he was afraid of them.

Not physically afraid, but it seemed their minds were quicker than his and they could put him down if they choose to.

He felt women were fragile and he didn’t want to hurt any of them but whatever the cause, he wasn’t an aggressor when it comes to women.

For some reason hard to understand, she was attracted to the large man and he was smitten by her.

After Joe finished his hitch in the army they were married but only after she proposed to him for he was too embarrassed to ask her.

When Joe finished his tour of duty he bought a building on route 66 and converted it into a café.  Several rooms were added on behind the café and served as an apartment for them and they rented out the rest.

The rental rooms were always filled with salesmen or truckers. It wasn’t long before their business was thriving and he had to hire some extra help.

Eighteen months after they were married Jenny had a daughter and called her Missy. 
She named the baby Marilyn but found herself saying, “Now look here Missy,” so she finally always just called her by that name.

Joe was awed by this little bundle of humanity and vowed no one would ever harm either the mother or daughter.  Although Joe worked long hours in the café but it was like he was always home because they lived in the back of the restaurant.

After Missy was born Jenny stopped teaching at school but did some tutoring of both children and adults that needed help in certain areas.

Joe built her a studio where she could paint and tutor in her spare time. From the beginning she taught Missy math, English, and the arts.

Missy showed early on she was very independent.  Jenny saw this as a good thing but one that need a lot of guidance without being overbearing.

As it turned out Missy was the only child they would have because there was some trouble with Missy’s birth.

Joe left most of the raising of her to Jenny, but at an early age taught her how to defend herself.  She learned all of the vulnerable spots that would disable a person with one blow. He taught her how to gain strength without getting bulky and losing her femininity.

Missy spent a lot of her time in the restaurant from the time she was small and would help by getting things like onions and potatoes for Joe.

In their apartment Jenny let Missy bake cakes and the like. She was able to do all this by the time she was seven. Her favorite was baking cookies.

Once she was in school she would take some of the cookies to school and made a lot of friends that way. The teachers wanted to skip her forward in grades because she was far ahead of her classmates due to the fact her mother had taught her at home.

The fact Missy was smarter than the kids her age Jenny decided to home school her and only let her attend the school social functions. The school went along with this for it eliminated a problem of trying to fit her in the structure of their teaching schedule.

By the time Missy was ten she was preparing a lot of the food in the kitchen like pastries and salads.  She became one of the waitresses at the age of twelve and had begun to blossom out as a young woman.

Being in the diner all these years she had heard a lot of coarse language and guys hitting on the other waitresses and by now she had heard it all.

With her uniform on she looked older than she was and now every so often some guy would make some lewd remark in her direction which she would totally ignore.

Joe had new menus printed and at the top it said, “The only thing served here is food. If you want anything else go where they sell it.  Save your fifthly remarks for your wife or mother;” below all that was the food menu.

Most of the patrons got the message but on occasion Joe would have to make it a little plainer to some guy.

It was about this time I got a job after school washing dishes and mopping up around the place till closing. I was fourteen, a couple of years older than Missy.

She was a lot standoffish as far as I was concern and we almost never spoke unless she criticized something I was doing.

I would thank her for her suggestion and say I would watch it from now on. She would usually turn and walk away without saying anything else.

Because of school and working I didn’t have much of a social life.  Sundays was the only time I had to myself and my mother insisted I go to church with her.

I had several friends but didn’t have time to hang out with them.  When I did they would tease me about making out with Missy.

I couldn’t convince them that she wanted nothing to do with me in any way.

Usually I would have to let them rave on and let them believe what they wanted to believe.

One day Missy came storming in and really chewed me out for spreading around school that I was her boyfriend.

I knew she wouldn’t believe me if I said I didn’t do it so I just apologized and said I wouldn’t do it again and if she heard any more rumors they wouldn’t be true.

She told me that my job was on the line and if I wanted to continue to work there I had better shape up.

Joe asked me, “Marvin what that was all about?” and I explained that I never said anything about her to no one except to deny it when they teased me about her.

He said forget about it for he knew how boys were and how rumors get started.

During some slow time if I was caught up with my work Joe began to teach me several kinds of martial arts to practice.  He had some gym equipment to work out on in my small spare time.

After a few months I felt I could defend myself if I had to.  Joe said the only way to fight is to win quickly and disable the foe with whatever means at hand. He said forget about fair play when fighting for that can get you hurt badly.

I told him I would remember that for it sounded like good advice. He said he learned that in the army where it was kill or be killed.

Nothing changed between Missy and me over the next year and a half. She still looked at me with contempt for some reason.

I had never given her a reason to treat me that way but I just accepted that this is the way it’s going to be; so live with it.

I'm Telling You to STOP messing with her - -
I did something that made things worse.  Missy was waiting tables and Joe wasn’t there. As she was taking orders a man started to get fresh with her along with a couple of buddies with him. When it looked like it might get out of hand I went over and told the men to, “Knock it off.”

One of the men said, “Who are you to tell us what to do?”

I said, “I’m her boyfriend and I’m telling you to stop or to leave.”

The guy who was getting fresh stood up and said you must be a tough guy and shoved me back to the counter.

I remembered what Joe had said about fighting, so I hit the man in the throat with two fingers.

He collapsed and was trying to get some air in his lungs. His friends looked as if they were going to take me apart when Joe appeared and asked if the two men had a problem.

They looked at the size of Joe and said, “No we were just going to help our friend.”

Joe pulled the man to his feet and sat him down in the booth they had been sitting in and massaged his throat till he could breathe freely again.

He then said, Missy take their order and let’s get these men fed. The one I had trouble with said he wanted some water and a bowl of soup.

The others ordered the “Blue-plate special,” and afterward Joe told them “it was on the house” and to come again.

I had gone back to my duties when I saw Missy heading my way, and I knew she was madder than I had ever seen her.  I guess hearing all the coarse swearing over the years had fixed itself in her memory for she lit into me with words I never heard her use before.

This went on until I finished all my work. She would stop and I would think it was over then she would start up again.

After she had wound down I asked, “What do you want to tell me?”

She turned red again and said, “How dare you say you’re my boyfriend.”

I said, “Well, we both know it’s not true so what’s the big deal.  He was getting ready to put his hands on you and unless you’re objecting to me stopping that I don’t get it.  Is that what you are objecting to?  You wanted him to continue - - -if that is it then, I apologize for spoiling your fun but you know he wasn’t going to stop there.”

She just swelled up and started to speak but nothing came out.

At this point I couldn’t help myself but had to laugh and said; “Does this mean that we are breaking up?”

She took a big swing at me but missed and walked out of the kitchen.

A couple had walked in and sat down and she gave them some water and took their orders. Joe had left but came back in and cooked their order for them. After Missy had served them Joe told her to go to the apartment and cool off and he would deal with the matter.

It was closing time and I cleared the tables and washed up all the dishes.

Joe said he hated to do it but since Missy and I just couldn’t get along he was going to have to let me go.

I told him I was sorry to hear that but I understood his reasoning and agreed it was probably for the best.

School was almost ready to start so I decided to try to make the football team this year since I wasn’t going to be working. This was my senior year and I had missed the three years I should having playing so I couldn’t make up for the time missed and didn’t make the team.

The coach said I could suit up and be a bench warmer if I wished but I declined although I appreciated the offer.

Track and field was starting so I tried out for that but wasn’t fast enough for that either.

To be Continued