His solid white beard was perfectly trimmed. Occasionally, when he was trying to describe something, he’d take off his company cap and run his fingers through his full, thick head of equally white hair. It was a stark contrast to his deep black, wire-rim glasses.
Today’s his last day on the job. He’s been preparing a long time for retirement, and now, it’s here.
As we all went through the day, I’d stop by and say things to acknowledge him.
“You know, this is the last 9:15 AM at work in your career”.
He stayed busy, in thanks partly to a number of phone calls from folks he’d worked with. He said, “I’ve just been really surprised by how many nice things folks have said to me.”
I nodded my head.
Continue reading A New Life Chapter
There was a long line for the first interview. It was person after person in rapid succession. I wrote “high risk, high reward” on his application because everything pointed to him striking out as an employee, but IF he made it he would be a home run.
A few days later I was getting pretty desperate and went back through applications. There he was. After a bit of head scratching, I called and left a message. Within minutes he called back as excited as an elementary boy alone in a candy store.
He was 15 minutes early to the second interview the next day, which is a good sign, but hyperactive as that same elementary kid who ate ALL the candy!
I asked him to tell me about himself. A gun fired and the race started. Without breathing, he told me he had graduated from high school seven years ago and everything about himself except which was his favorite tooth. Continue reading High Risk, High Reward
She has road rage. She laid on her horn while passing my truck near the University. I looked beside me and there she was, driving a little blue car yelling at me like a demon possessed llama with rabies. Reading lips isn’t my forte, but she wasn’t blessing me.
I quickly thought back. I’d been driving in the same lane for half a mile, going the speed limit, and hadn’t run a red light or anything else to tick her off. Yet here she was at the red light, saluting me with one finger, with no idea why.
She zoomed by going faster than a NASCAR speed limit while she hugged the center line like she was tight roping across the Grand Canyon.
Oh well. I kept driving. Continue reading Road Rage
When it goes right, home repairs and DIY work is fun. On the other hand, Bessie hold the barn door closed when it goes wrong!!
I updated a bathroom. There wasn’t exactly pressure to get it done quickly, but with four teenage girls in the house at the time, taking one of three bathrooms out of commission makes day-to-day life a bit more hectic, and when they’re all doing their hair at once, dangerous!
Each phase of the potty house renovation was down on paper, (that’s notebook paper, in case you’re wondering). I pulled up the commode first, and other than an unexpected splash of water in my mouth when moving it, it was easy as pie, or easy as….well, never mind.
The floor and wall tiles came off with a little elbow grease, and all was going as planned. Yay for a bathroom paper plan!
Continue reading Just Six Inches Away
It was a short run into the grocery store before work for a few apples and coffee creamer, but the only checkout line was long, too long.
The lady at the front of the line was an elderly lady and the bagger said something I couldn’t understand, then walked out with her to put her groceries in her car. The next person checked out and was on the way out when the bagger returned.
The man bagging was probably 65 years old and had a round face with sharp features and a big pleasant smile. The lady in front of me checked out ten or twelve items and the man’s face seemed locked into a smile. He’d grab a couple of items, glance at the checker and customer, as if searching for something in their faces, and then bag the next items.
After the lady paid, the man handed her grocery bags to her and said something, but again, I didn’t understand him. She smiled, spoke back to him and he laughed out loud beaming a huge smile.
I wasn’t paying attention when the checker checked me out. I swiped my card, spoke to the checker and turned to grab the plastic sack from the bagger. I caught a glimpse of his hearing aids just as he said in garbled words like someone severely deaf….at least I think he said, “I love eat apples! And coffee!” Continue reading Smiling Eyes
It started with well meaning insults. I called him Fat Lard — he asked when my baby was due. It wouldn’t have mattered much except we were at work having cake and ice cream for a co-worker’s birthday.
I fell for it when he asked if I was losing weight. “I don’t think so”, I said suspiciously wiping ice cream from the corner of my mouth. “I don’t think so either!!” he proudly rebuffed. That made the guy sitting between us laugh so hard ice cream came out his nose.
Another co-worker, a skinny, hard belly, in shape little snot, talked about how we ought to come build fence with him over the weekend so we’d lose weight. He smiled as big as a con man at a senior citizen’s home when he proclaimed he wouldn’t even charge us a gym fee. We both ignored the loudmouth and chalked up his demeanor and hard stomach to a bad case of pin worms. Continue reading Lunch Time Workout
“What’s da smell?”, the truck driver asked.
Our shipping guy was making a copy for the driver about to deliver an 18 wheeler load of lumber to Tulsa and answered, “It’s Scentsy! Vanilla Bean Buttercream with a bit of French Lavender!”
Amused, I looked up and commented how it smelled more like a Hallmark store than a sawmill shipping office.
“I know!! My wife is selling this stuff. I’m advertising for her! You need to buy a little bit for your Mrs. so when you come home all smellin’ and stinky like, it’ll take your bad smell away.” Winking he added, “It’ll give some class where you stay at!”
The big truck driver looked really uncomfortable. He started shifting side to side, looped one thumb through a strap of his blue jean overalls, and started rubbing his head with his other hand. Continue reading What’s That Smell?
One job, one hire. That’s all we needed. One more dependable person with a solid work ethic, steady employment history and preferably experience in our field. Easy peasy, right? Nope!
The first guy to finish his application charged up like a Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing Barney the dinosaur. We visited a minute or two. He’s been out of high school two years but never had a real job, although he counted mowing a neighbor’s yard. He graciously offered to do labor work, for now, but next year needs to move into a manager’s job like his dad has.
Uh, huh! Come see me in ten years. We’ll do lunch! Continue reading Job Fair Search
Each year a couple of bee swarms show up at work. Local beekeepers wanted to start charging to catch a swarm. Forget that.
Yet, employees and bees don’t mix well. In fact, a couple of folks are deadly allergic to bee stings. Besides, honey bees are nature’s Cupid and pollinate 75% of plant life, so instead of killing them, I decided to move them myself. The beekeepers had white suits, mesh hats, gloves and smokers. I didn’t have any of that, but I’d watched them before, so I’m an “expert”…
The swarm was about eye level on a beam right above a hydraulic unit.
Since I didn’t have beekeeper equipment, I buttoned my collar, cinched down jacket sleeves and put on gloves. Armed with a cardboard box and a lid, I started toward the clingy, hanging wad of live honey bees. After the first bee accidentally flew into my neck a good ways from the swarm, I pondered the consequences and wished for a meshed beekeeper hood. Continue reading Busy as a Bee
There used to be an old tire store up Main Street surrounded by properties that have all seen better days. Years ago it was a full-service gas station built in the late 40s or early 50s out of cinder blocks and mortar.
For the most part, however, the old building was insignificant. If it hadn’t been for the man outside, I would’ve never even noticed the place.
Years ago the tire store was painted white, but oil, grease and dirt make a dark entourage at the base of the walls up to a chalky, white at the top. The concrete around it was patchy and dark, stained with layers on layers of grease, dripped motor oil and a host of other dried automotive blood. Continue reading The Waving Man