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Monday, March 30, 2015

LONESOME VALLEY 2

 
Todays Post is shared at  “Tell Me a True Story.” 
My continued story will resume soon.


Lonesome Valley
 
Song: “You gotta walk that lonesome valley, and you gotta walk, walk it by yourself. Nobody else can walk it for you, - You gotta walk, walk it by yourself.   

Jesus walked this lonesome valley and he had to walk it by Himself. Nobody else could walk it for Him; He had to walk, walk it by Himself.” 

These words are almost haunting for they portend the end, and a new beginning.  

If it wasn’t for the 23 psalm; “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for THOU art with me, THY rod and staff they comfort me.” it would be a fearful trip. 

Our understanding of the future has been given to us in word pictures, future events described and related to things we know  

1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.   

All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  For the Christian the trip through the valley is the culmination of a lifetime of expectancy.  It is the entering into the joys of the LORD.   

The declaration; O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?  Gives us the confidence that all will be well.  

Each and everyone must prepare for this trip for themselves, as the song says; nobody can walk it for you. We are very concerned that our friends, and relations, especially our children make the right decision to serve GOD and prepare for the next world but the decision is theirs.

As parents the time comes when you must commit them unto GOD”S care and uphold them with prayer, then it is their responsibility to make their decision for Christ. 
 
It would ease our minds if we could make the decision for them but that isn’t an option.  Each person must decide to live for Jesus using their Free Will.

The biggest mistake a parent can make is to let the child’s decision not to serve GOD ruin their life as a parent and not accept the child's decision.  Yes continue to pray
 
It is never over until it’s over but in the meantime move on and enjoy your life in the LORD.  Your first responsibility is to yourself and to live your life.  Not your mates or your children nor your friends. 

“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”  Shakespeare quote 


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

 

 

Friday, March 27, 2015

THE DELI - CHAPTER 3


 

 
 
Like most older people Lennie’s father was set in his ways and didn’t want to change anything. 

When he saw the new layout and the new cases; he was lost and couldn’t find anything.  Also there were none of their homemade products, and it was too much.  Lennie had to take him in the back office to cool down.

When his Dad had settled down enough, Lennie told him what he saw in the cases were products that cost less than half of what it cost him to make them. 

People wouldn’t pay the higher prices even though the home made stuff was much better.

He allowed his dad to watch the customers as they shopped and then went to the checkout stand. He explained it took less than half the staff to run the shop now.

His father was worried about the workers who worked there for years and Lennie said they have retired like you.

Right now Lennie said we are making money but in the future we will start to lose again.  This neighborhood is a slum in the making and we must sell now or we won’t be able to salvage anything from the business.

His father wanted to know how someone else could make money and Lennie couldn’t.

Lennie said they will be willing to do things I can’t bring myself to sell and will be skirting the letter of the law.

Lennie was getting tired of explaining and arguing so he finally said it is either sell and live comfortable the rest of your life or go broke and live on the dole in a one room apartment till you die.

I need to get some employment for I have worked without pay for too long and am about broke.

His father still wanted to argue and said you ruined the business by bringing the junk in here.

Lennie handed his father the keys to the store and said, “You haven’t listened to anything I’ve said. You haven’t worked here for three years and don’t know what has happened to the neighborhood.

The people who live here now don’t want our old products, they won’t buy them, and if you want to bring them back be my guest.

You will be completely broke in a month and will owe money you can’t pay and be foreclosed upon.

Lennie said I’m out of here.  You know where I live for the next week then I have to move because I can’t pay my rent.

His father stood there mumbling and shaking the keys.  He locked the doors and walked through the neighborhood once again. He could see how it was beginning to be run down and just a few people he knew sitting on their stoop to try to cool off.

The ones he knew were getting old and weren’t long for this world.

He began to feel uncomfortable for some young guys were staring at him.  He hailed a cab and went to Lennie’s apartment and handed him the keys and said; “Sell,”and left.

The next day Lennie met with the new buyers and a couple weeks later the deal was done. They paid in cash which sped up the process.

Lennie took the proceeds and paid off his folk’s house, set up a bank account for them.  With their government check they were in good financial shape.

He was all but flat broke since he never took any of the proceeds for himself. He didn’t want his siblings to say he took advantage of the folks so he gave them a complete accounting of the transaction along with the fact he had worked for free the last three years.
 Of course they all said he should have taken wages but they didn’t understand it was that money he used to change the store over to a profitable enterprise.

In any case he could breathe freely once again for he was liberated of that responsibility.  Now it was time for him to plan his own future.

 TO BE CONTINUED
 
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

BURNED OUT 2


 
My continued Story will resume soon - -
This true story with some musing,

 
Burn Out

As a kid I was always amazed that how a piece of metal would break if you bent it back and forth enough times.

This was one of my big discoveries as a youth. Many others followed as I accumulated my vast storage of knowledge.
  
Along the way I came into contact with people experiencing what was called psychological burn out.  
 
At first I couldn't understand how that could be until I met Cliff Wright.
 
 
He was a kindly man who was soft spoken who wished to help people in need. The only problem he didn't have the wherewithal to do so and he would take from one and give it to another.  
 
He was a good mechanic who could fix almost kind of engine. This was essential for his former occupation which was a race car driver. He would build his own cars and drive them. He had raced all across the country from the west to the east. But after years of little success, often having to sleep in his car with little to eat; he finally came to the place where he was just burned out and racing became only a memory.  
 
Cliff had developed a problem along the way which was lying about his racing exploits and you could never tell for sure if he was telling the truth. If you asked his wife she would always tell the truth about what he had said. Still with this fault he was likeable.  
 
He would have plenty of work to do but he would just sit and look at it and after awhile would say; let's go and get some coffee. He would come back and look at it again until he felt it was time for coffee again. Jobs that would normally take a couple of hours wouldn't get done for weeks even though he promised to finish it. He was so burned out that all he had left was good intentions. 
 
It is possible for a Christian to come to the same place where service for GOD has left them burned out. 
 
What is burnout? Helpguide.org.  “Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”  
 
This can occur when your high expectations for GOD are not met and your desire to do great things at best turn out mediocre. It is possible for our zeal to take us beyond our calling and the result can be disappointment, discouragement and confusion. 
 
Our willingness to work for GOD can lead to expectations (by others) beyond what our stress levels can bear and if you crash and burn they will wonder why.  
 
Jesus saw this happening to his disciples; And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. While their rest was short lived at least he recognized they had limits. 
 
Due to the times we live in we must push ourselves to do more for Christ's kingdom but it is imperative to stay within your limits and not "Burn Out."
 
You might enjoy this old song!
 
 
 

Friday, March 20, 2015

THE DELI - CHAPTER 2


Lennie was Slowly Healing
 

The guys that attacked Lennie were let off with a warning and probation.

Several people said they should have had some jail time but the Judge saw all the stitches on their faces and felt they will have reminders the rest of their lives.

As for Lennie he had a various dark bruises and a couple of swellings that disappeared in a few weeks.

After Lennie’s attack the business at the Deli picked up with mothers bringing their daughters with them each time they shopped for the deli products.

Lennie’s mother said it was because the word was out that Lennie was available again.

It was the same at school; the girls his age were giving him their phone number and saying he should call them for a date.

With his forced courting behind him he started going out with a several of the young ladies for future reference.

Some of them were quickly written off from being marriage material although they were fun to be with.

Working at his parents Deli, Lennie was never paid with money.  He received a small allowance and his keep along with the promise he would have money enough for a house of his own; if and when he decided to get married after schooling was over.

Also he was promised he would inherit the Deli when his father retired. He enjoyed working at the Deli especially debating with the women who shopped there.

They always wanted more for less while he said they got too much for what they were paying. It for him was the best part of working there for many of them reminded him they had some daughters who were soon going to be marriageable age.

They would laud their talents such as being thrifty, good cooks and house keepers.

He would smile and say, “I will think about it when I’m old enough for a woman.”

They knew he was teasing, and in return would say, “You have been old enough for a long time now.”

When Lennie graduated his father insisted he go to business school for he said business is getting more complicated each day.  It wasn’t like the old days where you cut off a piece of cheese and put the money in the till.



He enrolled in a business college and began to see his father’s business was going to soon pass away.  Too many things were against it.

He couldn’t convince his father this was true even as the neighborhood began to change.

Each time Lennie tried to bring up the subject his father would go into a rage and blame Lennie for ruining the business.

As a last resort he brought his father down to the store for he hadn’t been there for a couple of years. He told his father to go up and down the streets and greet the old customers he saw.

An hour later his Dad came back and said, “There was no one.  I knocked on the doors of old friends and they had moved or died.”

Lennie told him,  “This has been going on for the last ten years.  None of the old customers came in anymore and their prices had been too high to attract new people.”

He explained that people shop differently now. They wouldn’t pay more for a better homemade product. They were buying commercially packaged products rather than fresh sliced cheese.  - - And, He told his father, they were losing three thousand dollars a month.

He went on and said he had pulled out the old show cases and replaced them with open cases with prepackaged food that people could pick up and bring to the checkout counter like other stores.

His father was silent as he listened.  Lennie went on and said, “We now sell coffee, sandwiches, donuts and the like for takeout, other than that everything in already prepared packages. 
All the old help is gone otherwise our losses would have been double. We are beginning to make money again.

I have a buyer who wants to buy the store and we need to sell while we can.”

His father was astounded that things had changed, and were in such a bad shape.

His father said, “Maybe if you took a cut in your salary it would help.”

Lennie said, “I haven’t taken a penny in salary for the last three years, so I don’t think that is the answer. 
You and Ma are deeply in debt."

Lennie continued, “If we sell now, you and Ma will have enough money to get by for the rest of your life, if not you will lose your house for there is a note due and payable.”

To Be Continued

 

Monday, March 16, 2015

THE DELI - CHAPTER 1


TODAY BEGINS A NEW CONTINUED STORY
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 The Deli was started by Lennie’s grandfather some forty odd years ago.

His father grew into the business just like Lennie.

The children were expected to come to the deli after school and work till seven when they closed.

There was an alley behind the deli which made it convenient for getting deliveries especially for the meat deliveries.

Usually Lennie’s first job after school was to grind the meat for the sausages.

At first the grandfather would come in and season all of the special sausages and then the sausage skins would be filled by the father - - but now it has become Lennie’s job.

He actually has learned how to do the whole process through watching and doing part of the process at different times.

The grandfather isn’t willing to give up his perceived expertise in the seasoning procedure.

Lately Lennie has had to remind him of something he has left something out or wait and put it in after the grandfather has left the building.

Though he was just under six foot Lennie was a strong but a gentle natured young man.

His family was still holding on to some of the old country traditions such as selecting the future mate for the children.

Lennie’s folks had picked out a bride for him shortly after he was born. They took into consideration all the important things like ethnicity and social standing and of course the close relationship of the two families.

So Lennie had a wife all picked out for him by his parents. He knew the young lady but seldom spoke to her.  When he turned sixteen he was told to go over and visit the family from time to time. The mother of the girl would bring her to the deli when she would go shopping and he would see her there if he was waiting on the customers.

If his father saw the mother come in with the daughter he would call Lennie from the back to wait on them.
 

Then the time came when Lennie was ordered to go over and court the young woman in the parlor of her parents.

This consisted mostly of sitting quietly and occasionally saying a word or two. After an hour he would be invited to have some refreshment and then leave.

What made this more difficult was she had a boyfriend at school. They spent a lot of time together while Lennie had to work at the Deli and couldn’t see her.

One day Louisa’s boyfriend learned of Lennie spending time with her at her home and he collared Lennie at school.  He told him he had to stop seeing her or he would have him beat up or worse.

Lennie tried to explain, but the guy wouldn’t listen and continued his threats. Lennie knew this could lead to big trouble for his clan wouldn’t take kindly to anyone hurting him.

The next time he was supposed to go over for his courting session he didn’t go and that led to a heated discussion between the parents.  Lennie told his folks the whole story about the girl having a boyfriend and all.

This just made matters worse and the girl’s parents forbid her to see her boyfriend.

Lennie was working a week later when two thug type guys jumped him when he took out some garbage.
 
They started punching him but Lennie had his butchers belt on with his knife in it. He pulled the knife out and started slicing them like he would a half of beef.

As soon as they could get free of him they escaped but were bleeding profusely.

Lennie stared after them and then went back to doing his duties while trying to make sense out of what just happened.  He concluded he should talk to the beat cop he knew and he alerted the hospitals.

When the thugs showed up at one of the hospitals to be treated they called the detectives who soon got the whole story from them. It seems Louisa’s boyfriend paid the goons to beat Lennie up and now they are looking for the boyfriend.

The next day at school Louisa’s boyfriend wasn’t at school but there was a buzz going around about a rumble involving Lennie.

When asked, Lennie just said he didn’t know anything about it.  It must be some other Lennie.

Lennie’s family went to visit Louisa’s boyfriend’s parents and gave them some warnings.  Best if we leave it at that for the guy never came back to the neighborhood again.

Lennie’s grandfather and father sat him down and talked about their choice for a wife for him. They said they found out some things about her which disqualified her as a wife for him.

Lennie had already heard about her being unchaste but didn’t want to tell his folks about it for he knew they would be upset for forcing him to court her.
TO BE CONTINUED

 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Making it in Chesterville - Conclusion Chapter 8




Do you want me?

Then one evening as Annie prepared for bed, she came out with a “show more than you should” negligée on and I got weak in the knees.

As she moved around in the room it only made things worse or truthfully made it better for I was thoroughly enjoying looking at her.

“My oh my, she is a fine looking woman,” I thought.

She finally sat on the sofa and said, “Come sit with me.”

She said; “Do you want me?”

I almost fell off the sofa. Do I want her?

From the first time I saw her in Chesterville I’ve wanted her even though there have been some ups and downs like her marrying that cad - Martin.

I managed a weak yes.

She said, “How do you want me?”

I didn’t know what to say to that then she came back saying; “Just part time or full time.”

I managed to blurt out, “All.”

Then she said, ‘When?”

“When?” I thought, “Now, right now, this very instant.”

I had so many negative feelings about her marrying someone she didn’t love but the final vestige of those feelings were swept away by what was happening.

 
I said, “In a few days you will graduate and we will be married on that afternoon.”

She said, “Good and pulled me to her.”

I’m a little embarrassed to tell you this part, but the honey moon started before the wedding and I hope you can understand how that came about.  

There was one more surprise that evening and that was when she told me that she had to force herself to submit to Martin’s advances on their wedding night and he wasn’t able to perform.  After that she refused to submit to him.

That was a welcomed revelation, and I felt a whole lot better about the whole situation as it had played out.

I can’t keep from smirking when I think about how Martin missed out and is still missing out on for we now have two fine offspring we adore.

Finis
 
Keep posted for a new story coming soon !!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Making it in Chesterville - Chapter 7



Enrolling Annie in College
Things are settled (Kinda)

I had to get back to work so I left a note and some money for Annie and said I would meet her at a restaurant for lunch and told her how to get there. She met me and I took the afternoon off.

After lunch I showed her how to get to the college and back. While we were there we went over the buildings and she met her instructors.

I could see she was getting excited about finishing her formal education. I could also see she was still a little nervous about staying with me. I never made an issue of it to anyone but I owned the apartment house I lived in.

No one knew I own it and the same for another one I had bought.  I had a nice apartment set up in the second one for clients who came to town but after thinking about it I took Annie to the apartment and showed it to her.

I said, “If you still feel nervous about staying with me then I’ll set you up here in this one.”

She said, “It is gorgeous but I’d just as soon stay with you.  My being nervous was not caused by distrust in you but by everything coming on me at once; Living here in the big city, going to college, and not being able to pay for it.”

I just said, “Okay living with me it is, time to go shopping.”

Her clothes were getting somewhat out of date and I said I wanted her to look her best when she was out and about.  I wanted her to look good at every occasion so we spent more than I expected but that was alright. I could take her anywhere and she would fit in.

She was now going to school, I was back to work full time and I never once gave thought to what or why I was doing all this. Somewhere way back in the reaches of my mind something was urging me on, and I was at a loss…

She has a date

After two weeks at school Annie came home and said she had a date and hoped I didn’t object.

“No, no it’s okay but who is he?”

“He is one of the instructors, not one of mine but another one.”


She has a Date !
“Okay I’m glad you told me just make sure you have cab fare home in case you need it.”

When she started to leave she took some money from her hiding place and folded it up. She pulled up her dress and slipped it in the top of her stocking. She caught me staring at her leg and began to tease me.

Boy, that hurt being caught looking at her upper thigh like that. What was worse she was wearing some lace trimmed panties and going out with someone I didn’t know.

I knew there would be guys after her but this happened rather quickly and I wasn’t as prepared for it as I thought, I wish I hadn’t saw that thigh!

It was then I realized that I might have some feelings left over from the past at least enough to make me jealous of anyone who wanted her at any level. I determined not to sit and worry about her so I called a lady I had dated before and we went out for the evening.

She wanted to know if I wanted to come up for a while saying, “I make a very nice breakfast.”

“Thanks, but I have some work I have to finish so I better scoot.”

She said, “Oh well another wasted evening and closed her door.”

I got back in the cab and said, “Take me home.”

This cab driver knew me for I had used him many times. He said, “Looks like you missed your chance with her,” which I ignored.

I wanted to get home and check on Annie and didn’t want to talk. The cabbie, Joe talked incessantly but I was so deep in thought his palaver was just a drone sound in my ear.

I paid Joe and rushed upstairs to check on Annie. I looked in all the rooms but she wasn’t home yet.

My emotions ran the full gamut from rage to a calm understanding.  I wanted to kill the interloper who had projected himself into my Eden like the serpent of old.

It was an hour later when I saw them arrive.  I stiffened and watched.

He tried to kiss her but she turned her face and allowed a peck on her cheek only and came into the house.

I felt better when she came in seemingly unscathed. I looked up from a book I had grabbed and said, “How did the evening go?”

She said, “It went as you might expect. He had a few drinks, talked about himself, and asked me to move in with him.”

I wasn’t sure I heard her right so I repeated; “Asked you to move in with him?”

“Yes asked me to move in with him, does that seem farfetched to you?”

I said, “No but it is something I would have rather he didn’t say.”

With each of her dates, I went through much of the same thing.

She had begun giving me a good morning kiss on the cheek when she greeted me each day. It was something I was looking forward to. If she missed doing it my whole day was off kilter.

We went along like this for several months till she was almost ready to graduate.
Then it happened before I knew it.
TO BE CONTINUED

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Making it in Chesterville - Chapter 6


Our College Instructor wanted us to dabble in the Stock Market
 

Last year till Eureka Time

This last year had added interest for one of my instructors at college said he wanted us to dabble in the stock market.  He suggested we could do it on paper only or we could invest a few dollars and see if we could get rich. He emphasized the important thing was to learn as much as we could about how the market worked.

I took a hundred dollars and invested it in stocks and at the end of the year I had made a small gain nothing to get excited about but it was better than the rest of the class.

I graduated and got my degree and was trying to decide which of the offers for employment I wanted to take. It finally boiled down to a brokerage house and a large corporation as a bookkeeper.

I decided for New York.  I had to deal with my holdings in Chesterville for I wasn’t going back to being a farmer or a grease monkey. I did enjoy the atmosphere in Chesterville but opted for the excitement of the big city. I set it up so the farmer could buy the farms he was working and Ronnie and John to buy the service station.

I told them they could either keep Mr. Johnson on or let him go. They both said they wanted to keep him on for he kept things in order when predicaments would try to become problems.

With my bridges burned behind me so to speak there was no turning back and I had to make my new job work for me.

Being in the accounting department I learned everything about the money end and how they worked the phones of a brokerage house but not what was happening on the floor.

An older man I worked with taught me most of what I know.  He had traded for many years and I asked him if he was rich and he said no. I have enough but not rich.

When I asked why because he seem to fully understand how the market worked.

Not Rich, but Well Off
He said, “There are times I forget to use my head and facts and go on feelings. Then I lose all I made using my smarts.  He said I know better but it is like an addiction with me.”



He continued, “If you do like I say and not like I do then you can become rich or as well off as you want.”

The thought of becoming rich appealed to me. After two years it was like he said. I wasn’t rich, but according to Wall Street’s standards I was well off.

What a surprise

One day I received a phone call from Alice and she said she was coming to the City. I found out when she was going to arrive and met her at Grand Central Station.

She about hugged me to death she was so glad to see me.  After she made a pit stop we headed to my place.

I told her she could use the spare bedroom but she said, that won’t be necessary for she would just sleep with me.

I turned red and she burst out in laughter and I realized she was just teasing me.

I feebly tried to hide my embarrassment by saying; “I was going to suggest that but didn’t for some reason.”

She came over and hugged me again and said; “My friend, I’ve missed you.”

I said, “I’ve missed you also,” as I increased my hold on her.

I asked her how long she was staying and she said five days.  Well we will see what we can see during your stay.

Alice wanted to see the Statue of Liberty
Being Thursday she would be leaving on Tuesday. That would give us the weekend when I would be off.  She was awed by the tall buildings and the Stature of Liberty. That was the one thing she wanted to see.

We went to a couple of shows one of which was a vaudeville show; An Opera, the Ballet and the ferry to Staten Island.

One evening I said, “I have to ask you and if you don’t want to answer it’s okay.
Around the station the guys (more than one) said that they had their way with you and I didn’t believe them… was I wrong?”

She said, ‘Yes, I’m afraid you were.  There were many over the years and when I get home I’m going to marry a man that proposed to me.”

I said, “Do you think you will be satisfied with him?”

She smiled and said, “Yes he’ll do just fine.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes quite sure.”

“Just one more question… why didn’t you ever with - - -“

Friends
She said, “Because you’re my friend.  Lovers don’t last but a friend can be forever. I didn’t want to lose you… my friend.”

We were quiet for some time just looking at one another and I said I’m glad we’re friends and didn’t mess it up.  We just hugged as friends for some time.

The next day I took her to the train and while waiting to board she said, “Something you may not know, Annie left Martin and is getting a divorce. She couldn’t stand him after a couple of months and family or no family she left him.

The families had pooled their money and tried to outspend each other. They ended up broke and are ready to be kicked out of the home they had bought together. It seems they couldn’t stand each other any better than Annie could stand Martin.”

After Alice left my thoughts turned back to Annie and what she must be going through.

I called Mr. Johnson and he told me about everything going on in Chesterville.

He said, “What you really want to know is how Annie is doing?”

I said, “Yes that would be nice for we were friends.”

“She is working at the Five and Dime and living alone. She doesn’t go out and her friends shun her now.”

We talked for some time and he told me the station was doing fine. Both boys have got married.  When the women around town found out they were businessmen they had their daughters down there drinking the Coke soda pop box empty. They couldn’t keep it filled up.
The boys picked out what they figured were the best of the litters and married them.

He said the soda pop business dropped off considerably after that.
To be Continued


 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Making it in Chesterville - Chapter 5


Annie Leaves for College

 She’s gone

Those words; “she’s gone” occupied my thoughts and were depressive.

Mr. Johnson came by the station and talked to me for a while. He said, “You have done a great job with the station. I never thought you would do so well but you fooled me.”

He went on saying, “Have you got a girlfriend now that you’re successful?”

I said, “No not anyone in particular.”

He said, “I thought you were interested in that girl Annie.”

I said, “No not really, we just went out a little, and now she is off to college.  I don’t think I’ll ever see her again.”

He said, “Oh, that’s too bad I thought she was a real nice girl and her people are well off you know.”

I said, ‘Yes that is true they are well off but just a little hard to get to know.”

“Oh, that’s too bad although that is a malady some rich folks have to deal with and not too successful I’m sorry to say.”

“Her father comes in and buys gas once in a while and I have worked on his car a couple of times. He did mention that Annie said to say hello to me, which I appreciated.”

Mr. Johnson said, “I was talking to the dean of the college in the next county over and he said enrollment was down and he was looking for a few more students and if I knew anyone to tell them to come and see him.”

He went on and said, “Why don’t you head on over and sign up. You could use some more education and it’s only about an hour’s drive from here. If you mention my name you’re sure to get in.”

I said, “You know Mr. Johnson no one in my family has ever gone past the eighth grade and for me to think about a college education seems strange to me.”

He said, “You could do it. You have plenty of time to study and that is half the battle.”

I said, “Thanks Mr. Johnson I’ll sure give it some thought.”

He said, “You do that and if you need any help at the station while you’re at school I’ll be glad to fill in cause I’m just sitting around doing next to nothing.”

I said, “That sounds good, I’ll let you know what I decide.”

“Go to college,” I thought, “Why not for I know I can do it. I’m smarter than a lot of these guys I know who are attending.”


The next day I went to see the dean and he gave me a list of things to do which wasn’t that hard or involved. With Mr. Johnson’s recommendation I was accepted right off. Mr. Johnson came to work for me and between he and Ronnie they had everything covered when I wasn’t there.

I was surprised that there were so many girls going to college. They were pretty friendly with me but I still had Annie in my mind. Each time I’m about to give up on her she sends me another letter but it is mostly about what she is doing and never anything personal like I miss you which  would just be one of many things that are meaningful she could say.

I never mention me going to college for I couldn’t see what purpose it would serve.

She wrote me and said she would spend Christmas with her folks but they would be out of town at her grandmother’s place during that time. She hoped to be able to say hello in person if she got the opportunity to do so.

That was a downer. I just wrote back and said it would be nice to see her but if it didn’t work out then have a Merry Christmas anyway.

No hello and goodbye

When she returned from her grandmothers it was time to return back to college for her. She called me up and said for me to meet her at the station for she would like to see me.

I with a chip on my shoulder went down to the station and waited for her to appear. Just as it was time for the train to leave, she and her former boyfriend came running and she just made it.

After she left the guy came over to me and said he had spent most of the Christmas with Annie and they had fun.

He then asked why I was there and I said, “I just like trains. They make me happy and don’t disappoint.”

He looked kinda weirded out and said so long. Although he is a liar I halfway believed him for he did bring her to the station.

Education of the grease monkey



Instead of waiting for the fall to enter college I started midterm. I didn’t have a clue as to what to take in college so along with others I sought out the school counselor and he said I should take accounting and banking.

I thought that was funny but went ahead and took his advice. He reasoned that since I was a businessman both of those courses would be of help in the future.

After a few weeks I could see that I needed more help in the station especially during the winter months, because I started delivering fuel to the farmers who had tractors and that was another reason to hire an extra man.

The man that was share cropping my two farms had a son John who was almost grown and wanted to work for me so I hired him.

Having been raised on the farm he knew a lot about machinery and between him and Ronnie they pretty well kept the mechanical work caught. The station required me to be there less and less.

There a few times when I had to stay over at college because of bad weather but Mr. Johnson kept things going.

He made my deposits so I didn’t have to be concerned about that important part of the business. During the summer I took some classes for extra credit which was catching me up with the fall classes.

Annie was home for part of the summer but I didn’t see much of her and when I did she was with her old boyfriend.  Seems whatever differences there was between them they resolved it.

I simply didn’t have time to date much. On occasion some gal would ask me out and I would go with her. It was usually to a church picnic or something like that.

There was one girl I went out with more than others and I enjoyed being out with her. She had been friends with Annie but had to wait another year before she could enter college.

Not that it mattered I think I still liked Annie the best of all the girls I went out with.

I would like to say courted but I never really courted her only dated her.



Fall semester started and it was then I realized there was a lot more to accounting that I thought. They said the third semester would be even more difficult but I figured I could take more time off as the guys working for me were doing a great job and I was needed less.

By attending what amounted to summer school I was going to complete my courses in three years. To my surprise I was getting some feelers from large companies for employment.

This was one thing I never expected because I was planning on hanging my diploma in my service station and then going back to work getting greasy.

Seems my whole outlook on life was changing. The people I was associating with were going to be professional people with good paying jobs. A few came out and told me they were planning on marrying a daughter of the president of some company.

They didn’t care which girl just so the father of his wife would move him on up in the business. They would smile and say marrying money is easier than working for it.  I had to agree that was true but so far I have avoided making part of my future plans although that did have some appeal to me.

Of course the girl’s fathers were not that naïve for they knew what these Romeos had in mind. Most of them would ignore the father’s scorn and pursue the girl even harder. And some of them were making head way.

One of the more distasteful times

Martin, Annie’s boyfriend’s family was well off seemingly although he didn’t have any money of his own. He was hoping that marriage to Annie would fix him for life.

Late in the fall I was working at the station on a project that Ronnie was having a problem with and I was dirty from it.  Martin and Annie came wheeling in and as I saw them I said I would take care of them.

When I came out Martin said fill it up boy. I said; “Yessur boss, right away boss, yessur boss.”

I filled the car up with gas and hustled around to clean the windshield and said yessur boss would yo lady like a cold drink boss.”

He said, ‘Honey would you like something to drink?”

Annie looked embarrassed and didn’t speak. He said, ‘Yeah give us two Dr. Peppers.”

“Yessur, boss, coming right up.”

I got two drinks from the coke box. Wiped the water from them and handed them to them after opening them up.

I said, “On the house boss, on the house and you can take the bottles with you.”

He paid me for the gas and with a big smile said, “It might of interest for you to know Annie and I are going to be married on Saturday.  I just thought you might want to know since you figured you were in the running.”

As he drove off he said, “So long… boy.”

I stood looking after them and had to admit he came out on top with that one. Yeah, that was the one thing he could have said that could get to me.

I knew I wasn’t really in the running for her hand, but yet I felt there was something between us. It was just a feeling and hearing this hurt.  It truly hurt more as the day wore on. It left a hole in my emotions, a void that at present I didn’t know how to fill.

Yeah I had to hand it to Martin; he really got me on that one.

Strangely Annie had nothing to say the whole time except under her breath she said, “Cut it out you two.”

I finished up my greasy project and cleaned up enough not to mess up my car and went home.

I determined not to let this unhappy moment ruin the rest of my life so I took a bath and called Alice to see if she wanted to go to a movie and she was right up for it.

Sweet Alice
Alice was a good companion on a date for she was always upbeat and outgoing. A couple of guys said they had their way with her but those guys lie so much I didn’t know whether to believe them or not. It really didn’t matter to me for that was her business and I was always at ease when with her but I wondered if I pushed it a bit if I could… anyway we never did.

I valued her as a friend more than a rumble in the back seat. Although I tried to hide it she knew something was bothering me.
On the way home that evening she moved over and put her arm around my shoulder and said, “Alright tell your sweet Alice all about it.”

I felt silly but I told her about what happened at the station with Martin and Annie.

She straightened up and said; “You lucky dog, you got clear of that mess.  Do you have any idea what would have happened if you married into that whole crazy family. There is so much fighting among the family members with poor Annie in the middle.  

Both families are in trouble financially and they are trying to join the money they have left by marrying Annie off to Martin.”

She continued, “You are better off financially than both families. The only reason you weren’t the target for Annie by her folks was your social standing.

Even though you are a business man, socially you’re looked upon as a person without status.”

I couldn’t help but ask Alice, “Just how do you know all this stuff?”

She said, “Easy because I work at the bank and we know everybody’s business financially and they talk while waiting to be served about their friend’s problems.”

When I took her home she gave me a friendship kiss and I headed to my place.

On my way I thought about Annie and her being trapped in this horrible situation.

I remembered the look on her face while Martin was telling me about their coming nuptials.  Poor Annie… being sold for dollars…in order to maintain a life style I wouldn’t have.

While I was at the station Martin came by and left me an invitation to the wedding. He had to have one last show of effrontery which caused me to say out loud; “I need to put a whip on that scoundrel.”

I heard the wedding went off well but the bride didn’t look very happy.

With the help of Alice, I had moved on. She had a way of taking bad issues and turning them into insignificant moments.  For me it was onward and upward.
To Be Continued