Thursday, April 28, 2011

Today at the Tractor Supply

I went galloping into work like I usually do, one step ahead of late, and I threw on my vest and headed for the register. I saw a picture of a kid, a good looking teenager, tanned with brilliant blue eyes and the stance of an athlete. I saw that they were holding a benefit for him. I studied him a minute. He went to the high school that all of mine graduated from, and I wondered if Cara knew him. The poster said they were raising money for his medical expenses.

Gary knows everybody. I never have seen the likes of it, so when we had a quiet moment, I said, "What's the story with that boy they are having the benefit for." And Gary shook his head. "It's a good friend of Ike's," he said, naming yet another coworker. "They thought he had the flu. He had spinal meningitis. He lived, but he's got the mind of a five year old." I stared in horror.

I cannot stop thinking about that. I always thought that the death of a child would be the most terrible thing ever, but I seriously cannot imagine anything like staring into the face of your son every day, at the same time knowing that you will never talk with that teenager again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I was working when a man that I once thought I loved came in. He has come in before, and sometimes, he seems as if he would like to speak, but he doesn't, and so I don't either. He is someone who was important to me for a time, but he decided that he did not want to be in a relationship after all, and he left. He called and said that he'd made a terrible mistake, and the relationship resumed. He changed his mind within a matter of days, and was gone. Amazingly, he called once more, but by then, I was able to say, "No. You just want what you do not have, and once you have me, you will not want me." I had grieved bitterly for a time, but came to discover that I didn't lose anything. I never had it. It was an illusion. Tim turned out to be the real deal. I know that I am lucky and I do not look back.

This time, the man did speak to me, and I answered him. We exchanged hellos and there was a space. There really wasn't anything to say. I looked at him, and he looked at me, and then he moved to the door. He stopped and turned and said something. "What?" I asked. He repeated himself. "When did you discover that you were a writer?" he asked. I answered, "I always was, I guess." He likes to read my articles, he said, and then he headed for the the door once again.

I watched him leave the store, and I thought about it. That's the truth of it, I suppose. I've always been a writer. He left before he knew who I was. How strange to think that he probably knows more about me now than he ever did, but I understand him no better than I did fifteen years ago.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Confession is good for the soul.

Today I became aware that all of us in the class are stretched just about as tightly as we can be stretched. We had a good group 'vent' today. I have to say that I didn't give a rat's ass many, many times today. I swore, mightily at one point. Everyone laughed and commismerated and I knew that I was not alone. On the way home, it was warm. I drove with the window down and I sang 'My Sharona'. Loudly. And I danced in the driver's seat. I came home and I put the finishing touches on my two projects, and I packed my bag for tomorrow. I've been sick with exhaustion for the past week because I've been waking up in the night and worrying about all the stuff I have to do. Now I am going to bed because it is 10:30 and I'm pooped.

I'll say it once again. I don't give a rat's patootie. I've only got three more weeks of school. I can see the end of this semester. I've got a notion that I'm going to sleep like a rock tonight.

dropping in...

Easter was nice.
Signing the papers for our house on Thursday.
That project I worked on last Wednesday? The one that I almost didn't do because I was so busy? It took first place a meaningless class contest. Made me glad I didn't blow it off as I was so tempted to do.
Tim's dad is very ill in intensive care.
Got three more projects done. Got a presentation partly done.
My mom's in a nursing home for the time being. Her goal is to get out of there and home. This summer, I'll have more time to help her.
Someone want to come and help me fold and iron laundry? Maybe wash a dish or two?

Friday, April 22, 2011


Dear heavens, it is snowing again. I am whining again. Is there a correlation? You can bet on it.

We watched The King's Speech last night. It was excellent.

I had a busy night at work. Crazy busy. The manager spoke with me again about becoming a team leader. You know, I'm more pleased than I can say that I am considered by my peers to be management material. A year ago, I'd have been all over that. But things have changed and I am in school. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have choices. I have chosen to stay the course. Still though, it is nice to feel respected.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I've had a damaged tooth for twenty years now, right in the front. I was never happy with it, but I never did anything about it. It was one of those things that was not a necessity. It was pure vanity. It seemed selfish. Today, my tooth was fixed. I'm surprised at how glad I am about that.

Better Day

Last night I curled up in a warm bed with my book. It's detailed and gives you the notion that you are looking into a world that vanished long ago. It's a pleasant read. I fell to sleep after just a few chapters, and it probably was good that I did. I needed the sleep. I do lose focus when I am harried and tired.

I woke up this morning to discover that the forecasted snow is just the lightest trace of snow. I'm kind of good with that.

I have just one class, and it lasts only an hour and 15 minutes.

I've got a few errands to take care of and then I am home. It is Tim's birthday today, although we are celebrating it tomorrow, when everyone is off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bad day.

Been a discouraging day. Not any one thing, not really. The weather sucks, chance of rain tuning to snow tonight. *sigh* And there appears to be a glitch in the signing of the new house. There's some incomplete paperwork that the bank refuses to tidy up. Our lawyer said he needs to speak with us. That doesn't bode well. *sigh* You know that project that I whipped out last night? I met with my group this morning, showed them what I had. Everyone claimed to be pleased, but I overheard a complaint later. I am confused. Truly. No one met. No one responded to e-mail, save the girl who'd found a video. Yet she complained to another that it had been 'thrown together the night before'. She went to her dorm room and refused to take part. I feel old and foolish and ashamed, but yet I'm not sure why. *sigh* Brianna commented tonight that she doesn't want William to grow up in a house with fighting, like she did. It's the truth. My last marriage was not a good one. I told her that I was glad she was taking action in her own life, because if she failed William, that failure would haunt her for the rest of her life. I'm glad to see her stepping up to the plate, yet ashamed of my own failures too. *sigh* I have had the disconcerting experience of being embarrassed to speak in class. It feels as if the teacher is deliberately misunderstanding what I am saying. We were talking about anxiety disorders, and he talked about the fact that sometimes people fake anxiety disorders to get meds. I commented that perhaps medication should not be the treatment of choice... and he said, "So, if someone comes in psychotic and delusional you don't think they should be medicated. Interesting." Surprised, I said, "Um. I thought we were talking about anxiety..." And he said, "Oh. You're talking about anxiety." I tried to continue, because I felt like I'd look stupid if I stopped right where I was. I started again. "If a person has anxiety issues and you prescribed some sort of group therapy, if they did have anxiety they'd be willing to try it..." and he said, "What if they have a social phobia?" I looked at him and he looked back. "I am not meaning to give offense here. What I am trying to say is that if someone is coming to you in hopes of getting drugs, if you begin with a non medical intervention first, he will head out the door to look for a doctor who will give him what he wants. A person with a true anxiety disorder would be more likely to give therapy a chance. You might be able to weed out substance abusers that way." He was standing in front of the class with his head down and I felt as if I were trying his patience. He did say that I had a very good point, but I felt ashamed for talking. He'd asked for discussion, so I don't understand that shame, but I felt it anyway. *sigh* I sit here in my house with 1001 things that I should be doing but what I am going to do is go to bed and curl up with my book 'Malcolm'. Sometimes a person just needs to step back and take a break. I need a break. I've lost my focus.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hither, Thither, and Yon

This is the last big push.

Tomorrow is the big day to turn in the position paper I've been working on for some time. I've put in two late nights on it. I spent 2 hours on it at school. I spent a couple more hours on it here at home. It is done, and placed in a folder with my stack of references. That was a relief.

I turned my attention to my presentation tomorrow. It is supposedly a group project, but no one has met from our group. Out of five people, one girl volunteered to use her laptop to play a video. That was it. The presentation is supposed to explain what OT is. (April is Occupational Therapy month.) We had five groups for the five senses. My group is doing vision. I just got three blind folds, and a large shirt. I'm taking a teapot, a cup, some teabags, pencils, paper. I'm going to have a volunteer perform three ordinary tasks while blindfolded. After we have a very good laugh (I've got some little tricks up my sleeve to make sure that the person has some trouble with the tasks), we'll talk about what an Occupational Therapist would be doing for our volunteer. I'll give a brief overview of the need for independence that almost all of us have, and that my job will be to help my clients live as normal a life as possible no matter what their disability. Short, sweet, to the point, but entertaining as well.

I'm done.

I have projects I could be working on for next week (the fun never ends!)but I am tired. Beat. I am going to bed and curling up with my latest find at the second hand book store. It is a paperback book, a reprint of 'Malcolm' written by George McDonald, orginally published in 1875. MacDonald was the favorite author of C.S. Lewis. Most intriguing to me? The book has a stamp in it. It was bought at the Keswick Book Shop, Portal House, Bandi St, Nairobi.

The story is interesting, but I find myself longing to know the story of the book itself. How do you suppose that it got all the way to a thrift shop in a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania? Oh, if only that book could talk!


It's been a struggle keeping up with things, but I'm doing it. Just barely. I've got a prensentation to do as well as a major paper due. Tomorrow. The major paper? It needs to be restructured. I think that I know how I am going to do it. I've got to finish the references. The presentation? I don't have a bit of it done. It will be another late night.

Yesterday at work, I was golden. You ever have one of those days when everything just clicks? It did for me. It just seemed like every time the manager was gnashing his teeth over something, I was able to figure it out. (Truth be told, it was probably because I had more time to devote to solving the problem. He was busier than a one armed paper hanger. Still, though, it made me feel good. "Hey, Ike? I'm golden!"He's a lot of fun to work with. His mustache would twitch, and his eyebrows would go up, and he'd say, "Way to go! Awesome!" At the end of the night, walking across the parking lot to our vehicles, he thanked the cashier and I multiple times. It was a big night, and we had worked together really well. Got a lot done.

Wish I'd have a day like that at school.


We sell a sign at the store. It has an outhouse on it, and it reads: 'This is the only place I know what I'm doing.' I need to get that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Just Friday, I was feeling very comfortable in my own skin. I felt good about my week's worth of tests. After months of being able to see no further ahead than the next paper or the next test, I found myself feeling as if I could see clear straight through to graduation. I felt positive and sure of myself.

I told Tim about this, and he just smiled like he does, and said something to the effect of "I knew that you could do it."

The next day, as I hunkered over my computer pounding out yet another paper, he came in the door carrying a pot of star gazer lillies. "What are those for?" I asked, peering over the top of my reading glasses. And he told me that they were for me, for doing so well on my tests.

Was that not the sweetest thing ever?

Today, I got on line, and saw that my Anatomy and Physiology Lab quiz from last Tuesday was graded and posted. I confidently checked my grade.

It hadn't been a hard test.

I didn't think so anyway...

...until I saw the grade. I got a 79.2%

Baby? You'd better give those flowers to someone else.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm Going to Make It.

Yesterday, I had a big test in Anatomy and Physiology. I was just sick about it, studied and studied. I was so tired, and I had a splitting headache, and so I went to bed, finally, and I did not feel good about things. I felt like I needed to keep on studying. Even worse, I lay in bed and definitions kept running through my mind. I recited processes to myself. Facts and figures and well...I got up the next morning, and I was so tired that I still had my headache. I left the house early, got to the lecture hall early, and I studied. Still, I did not feel all that confident about it. Taking it, I completed the first page, and I thought, "Well, at least I did well on the first page." 3 pages later, I was amazed. I had completed the test, and it was not hard. I probably shouldn't say it out loud, lest I jinx myself, but I think that I did well on it.

Today, I had two more tests, one a midterm. I still had my shortsleeped headache, and I studied, but I was tired. Again, I got to school early, and I studied in the empty classroom, but you know, again, I was not feeling good about it. The midterm? I have to say when I first glanced at it, I almost fell out of my chair. It looked like a mindbender. I took a deep breath and I swallowed my panic, and I began to read the first question. I thought about it, and realized that all I was doing was applying all that I had learned to new situations. That's all. One question at a time, I thought carefully, and I selected my answer. I spent a lot of time thinking, and when I was done, I did not go back over it.

And when school was over, I walked to my car. This has been a rough week. I've had a total of four tests, I have been worried about my mother, (she's still in ICU)and I have been worried about Cara (can you say 'Canadian schizophrenic with a knife'?) But today, walking across the parking lot in the warm spring sunshine, today, for the very first time, I looked squarely at this school thing, and I realized that I'm doing well. I realized that, for all my worrying, I'm going to make it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I've got three tests coming up. One tomorrow. Two on Friday. It's such a lot to know. Right now, I have a headache, and I figure that the best thing I can do for myself is go to bed, digest this stuff, and get up early tomorrow morning and go over it once again with a fresh mind.
Tomorrow night, I'll come home and once again, I'll hit it hard for the two tests on Friday. I am overwhelmed, and I don't imagine you'll be hearing much from me for the next couple days. The one thing that I wish more than anything is that I could pull all nighters. I could use the extra study time, but what I know about myself is that when I'm tired, I might just as well go to bed, because I am retaining nothing. It's times like these when I question my own sanity...whatever made me think that heading back to college was a good idea?
But we dissected sheep eyes in Anatomy and Physiology lab. At first, I was squeamish, cutting into an eyeball, but then once inside, locating all the things listed in my lab manual, I found myself fascinated. I'd never seen the inside of an eyeball before. I studied the retina. I studied the lens. I looked inside the ciliary body and saw the iris, and the pupil in the middle of it. Lucky that I have moments like reminds me why heading back to college was a good idea.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Dog Story from Tractor Supply

Yesterday at Tractor Supply, a couple came in and they were buying things for a puppy. A kennel, a soft bed, bowls, puppy food, a little collar and a matching leash. "What kind of puppy did you get?" And they looked at each other and laughed. "We got a Puerto Rican puppy."

Turns out that their veterinarian had gone on her honeymoon to Puerto Rico. While there, she found three starving puppies. She couldn't bear to leave them behind, so she gathered them up and brought them to their hotel room. They had no dog food, so that first night, she fed them trail mix, and the poor starving things wolfed it down. And so they were named Almond and Peanut and the name of some other nut that I cannot remember.

Come time to leave, they discovered that they could only bring two of the three home with them, so in a canine version of Sophie's Choice, they picked two to come home. Amazingly, they flew someone to Puerto Rico for the third puppy, who is on his way home even as I write.

"That's a nice story," I said as I walked with them to the door to lock up for the night. "Bring Almond with you when you come back. I'd sure like to meet her."

My mother continues to improve although she is still in Intensive Care.

I feel like Cara is safe now, and I am much relieved.

There is no snow in the long range forecast. I see daffodils on the way to school. We should have the keys to our new house by the end of the week.

Many nice things happening. Lucky, lucky me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good News

Yesterday, it was in the mid-seventies here.

aaaaaaaaaand, there's no snow forecasted in the 10 day outlook

Last night, my mother opened her eyes, and began to respond.

Today, I have a midterm. I'm not as prepared for it as I should be. I tried, but I was very tired.

But did I mention that it was in the mid-seventies here yesterday?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


There are people who should probably not bother to have a cell phone.

*raises hand*

Cara bought me one, a little trac phone. She was frustrated after a mixup at work, when they called to see why I wasn't there, and she couldn't call me to find out why I wasn't there. I had said, "I can't be there at -- o'clock. I am still at school," and the decision had been made that one of the managers would cover register for that half hour while I was on my way in. Unfortunately, it was not written down, and the manager who was 'on' that day had no clue what was going on. They had called home, and Cara headed out the door to retrace my path home from college. She was smart enough to stop by the store before back tracking my normal route home and found me at my register where I was supposed to be. She left the store, cross at the fact she had an 'amish' mother. (This is what she calls everyone who does not have a cellphone and i-pod.) She reappeared within the hour and slapped a cell phone in my hand and walked out while I was still protesting the thing.

So now I have a cell phone. Does this mean that I am any easier to reach? No. Because I leave the thing home on the charger a lot. When I do have it, it generally means that I've remembered to stick the thing in a pocket, but that is no guarantee that it works, because it's usually been in the pocket for a week, and has a low battery. Or I haven't remembered to turn it on. It's always some darn thing. Yesterday, it was that I was in class, and had it turned off. (Yes, I know you can turn it on vibrate, but I did not remember how to do that, and did not have the time to figure it out.)

When I got home, Tim said, "I couldn't reach you." I said, "I know..." and headed for the kitchen to get him lunch. "Stop what you are doing," he said. "Call your sister." I did. My mom was taken to the hospital. She is very ill. She was lifeflighted from our small town to a city hospital an hour a way.

Tim took the night off work and we went to wait with the rest of the family. We left very late last night, and she was still unresponsive. It is too soon to know what will happen, but she is very ill.

Tim and I rode in the back of my sister's little car and we talked. We talked about our children, and life. We swapped stories. And when we got back to where her husband's truck and our car was parked, we got out. It was after midnight, and for the first time, I heard the peepers in the swamp across the road, a swamp that I did a lot of mosquito work in. I stood a little in the light rain and listened to the sound of those little frogs and realized once again, that sometimes we think that the seasons are never going to change. They do. They always do, whether we are ready to say goodbye to the last season or not.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Not again.....

When I headed off to school this morning it was cold, but dry. The roads were bare. After my class, I headed over to a Head Start program, where a team mate and I had some children's activities to do. I was a little surprised to see that it had begun to snow again. "I'm reeeeeally getting tired of this," I said a little wearily, and I got the brush out and swept the snow from the car.

After our activities, I drove back to the college in the snow, and I had a meeting with another classmate for our presentation on Friday. Heading back to class, I was a little surprised to see that it was snowing even worse. I called Tim. He told me that the roads in Pennsylvania were horrible.

By the time that class was over, and I headed home, the roads were, indeed, terrible. I spun my way up our hill. The car tires were spinning and I could smell the rubber, and I was crawling along. I came upon two boys in their car, spinning, not moving. My car was inching along. I was afraid to pass them for fear that my car would STOP inching along, and we would wind up stuck side by side, blocking the entire road, but I had no choice, and finally, I did pass them, and inched my way past them. I finally made it to the top of our hill. I love my old 'winter rat' (it's what we call our winter cars...they are not purty, but they are tanks, trustworthy and sure footed (tired?)

I walked into my house with no small amount of gratitude, and checked out They had been called for an inch of snow or there abouts, and it was already much much worse than that. The new weather alert read:


Those higher elevations? The ridges they're talking about? Yep. That's where I live. It's still snowing like crazy.

During the month of March, the robins returned. So did the buzzards, and the redwing blackbirds too. One memorable afternoon, I was digging in the dirt at the new house. I know spring is all around me, but danged if I can find it in all this snow.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I am hard on myself. I know this. I was raised not to be proud of myself, and it shows. I am not proud of myself. A neighbor down the road came into the store last night. I waited on her politely, but there was no conversation. She does not like me. We've never spoken, but she's got strong opinions. She bases them on what she's heard. It bothers me, but I also know that I can't change her mind. She'll think what she thinks. I also realize full well that I wouldn't even try to change her mind. What's the point of it? She's not anyone that I could ever call a friend. So I wait on her, and she says nothing, and I say nothing but the necessary words. And then she grabs her bag, as she always does, and says in a voice that drips sweet sarcasm, "You have a good day!" and she stalks out of the store. It doesn't faze me now. I simply turn to the next customer in line, and invariably, they are nice folk and we find something to laugh about.

So, I've been thinking about encounters.

Yesterday, I went into the office to get an assignment that we'd been given in class some time ago. We actually began it in class. Someone was talking about it, and I thought, "Oh, yeah, and then went through my pending assignments and realized that I no longer had it. I was embarrassed to go in to the office and confess that I'd lost it. Understandable really. I've got a dozen assignments all assigned weeks ago, with different due dates. We cannot turn things in early, so there's always that possibility that something is going to be lost in the shuffle. Especially when you are me. I confessed to the teacher, and she cheerfully went into her file and printed out a replacement. I apologized for the inconvenience and turned to leave. She said, "Oh, don't worry about it. You're right on top of things. I can tell." That surprised me. I wondered about that. She sure sees me differently than I see me.

I got a letter from Cara the other day. She said that she wished that I could see myself as she sees me. She goes on to list the things that she remembers about her childhood. The fact that I worked more than one job, but still stayed up late with her to read "Ramona Quimby". (If you have a little girl and have never read them, do! They are such fun!) Little things, but they meant a lot to me. I will keep that letter forever. I am very glad that Cara sees me differently than I see myself.

Today in Anatomy and Physiology class, Butthead Boy began going on loudly like he does, but this time, his story winds up being about some television program, "where these young 'hot' girls are stuck with this old guy and they are looking for young guys to f*** them," and although it wasn't my business, he's just so ignorant that I burst out with, "That's completely inappropriate for a classroom." I stared at him, and he stopped, shocked. "I'm sorry," he mumbled. But then he seemed to think better of it. "If she complains about me again, I'm out of the class. You all are my witnesses. This did not happen in class. It happened before class" And he stormed back to his seat, passing me and saying loudly, "Some people need to grow up!" and I looked at him and mildly said, "Yes indeed they do." I'm sure not the prudish old woman he seems to think that I am.

I went to the local library after class. I had to find a children's book for an activity at the Head Start tomorrow. The letter is 'G' so I was looking for a book about a gardener. I was supposed to be doing a gross motor activity with them during circle time, an indoor activity. So we will read our story and then we will be gardeners. We will pantomine digging with a shovel, hoing, planting. There will be the sun and rain, with the appropriate hand motions. Then we will become the seed, and pantomine growing from the ground. Then we will pick our tomatoes, and our corn and we will dig our potatoes. Lots of motions but nothing dangerous or too wild for the classroom setting. Anyway, it took me a long time to find a picture book about growing and/or gardens. I tried to find a topic using the computers, but failed. I asked a mother there with her young son if she had any suggestions. An elderly lady, a former librarian, was there reading with her grandchildren. She pitched in. Then the librarian for the children's room came back, and there were four of us at work on this. Soon I had a good half dozen books to take home and decide on. Everyone was so nice, and I thanked them and headed toward the circulation desk to check them out.

The nice woman there was halfway through my books when she looked up and said, almost shyly, "I love your articles." Surprised, I said, "Gee. Thanks," and she said, "All of us here read you." Always awkward when complimented, I dumbed around. She said, "You write like you love to do it." Finally, I got my tongue back. "Yes," I said. "I do love it, and I'll never cease to be amazed when someone tells me that they love to read what I love to write." I paused. "You know, men like to read along too. I'm just now discovering that." She laughed. "Before I moved back here, I became acquainted with your writing. My uncle was always cutting out your column and mailing it to me, and telling me that you sounded just like me.

I've been thinking on things. What am I? Who am I? I don't see myself like everyone else seems to see me. I find myself wondering on the way home if I fall square in the middle of all of that? What if I'm better than I think I am, but not as bad as some might paint me? What if it turns out that I might not be as great as some people think, but I'm not as bad as I think? I don't know, but it sure is nice to think that it might be true.

Monday, April 4, 2011

First Day back to School

Today was the first day back to school. I'd had a busy weekend at work, and when I went to bed, I was tired. Really tired. But then I found myself tossing and turning. 'Did I set the alarm?' *flop* 'Why, yes. Yes I did set the alarm.' *stare into the dark* 'What if I don't wake up in the morning?' *tosses a little* 'But I always wake up in the morning. Even on spring break, I was waking up at my regular getting up time. Although I didn't always get up.' *stretches out* My thoughts ran around in circles like a cat chasing it's tail. I was cold. I was too warm. I finally fell asleep.

I was awake before the alarm went off. (As usual) I was tired from my restless night.

When I went to school, I showed a friend one of our assignments, one that I'd spent several hours on. It was six pages long. "When is this due?" I asked. "I didn't write down a due date for this..." and she said, "That? We didn't have to do that. It was something they gave us as an enrichment exercise, if we wanted to do it." Me, shocked, but still holding out hope: "Is it maybe worth extra credit or something?" Nicole: "No."

I was sick to think of how much time I spent on that.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today at the Tractor Supply.

It's been a long weekend. I worked from 8 to 8:30 yesterday, and then worked 9 to 6:30 today. By the end of the day, I was feeling it. I was beat. A customer came up, just as we were closing with a full cart. Lamar, our newest employee asked me a question from the door just as this woman asked me a question. I had begun to turn to Lamar, and the woman snapped, "I ASKED YOU HOW MUCH THE SHAVINGS ARE!" A little surprised at her impatient snottiness, I turned back to her and told her. I continued ringing up her things. When I was done, I gave her the total: $48. and change. She pulled a huge wad of ones from her purse, thrust them at me, and said, "Count this." No please. No nothing. I took a deep breath and began counting. It takes a moment or two to count out 49 ones and as I was counting, the woman said, "You do know to stop counting when you have enough money, right?" Incredulously, I looked up. Her voice was haughty. Behind her, her teenaged children looked down with bright red cheeks. That, more than anything, tempered my own response. I took a deep breath, I looked square at her, and I said, "Yes. I know to stop counting when I have $49." I stood there a moment giving her a steady look. For that moment, I did not count her money. I waited. I wanted her to get the idea that being rude wasn't going to make her transaction go any faster. She said nothing, just stared back. I went back to counting money. What makes people like that? I would not dream of talking to anyone that way.

Although it was after closing, I was not done yet. Another man came up to the counter. Ike was carrying an armload of stuff for him. He also had his own armload of stuff. I began to ring up his things. He stood there in his overalls with a big smile on his face. "This just tickles me," he said. He got a clearanced blower, and an armload of shirts marked down to $1.99. A welding hat and some waterproof boots. As I rang everything up, he said, "I got some great deals!" and I agreed. Once more, he said, "This just tickles me!" He raved about the store. He raved about the people in the store. He was a happy man, in from Oklahoma working in the area. I liked listening to him. "I'm a blessed man! God has been good to me," he said. And I said, "He's been awful good to me too," and we grinned across the counter at each other.

I'm glad that a man like that followed that rude woman. I closed up the store, and I felt better.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

At the Tractor Supply

A little boy comes into the store regularly with his mother to buy a Schleich animal. It is always a very long process to pick his animal. His mother will show him a toy and say "What about this?" He is very spoiled, very loud, very obnoxious. He stands nose to hip with his mother, and screams "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" as long and loud as he can. Her response is simply to roll her eyes, and respond quietly. Week after week, this little scene plays out. This week, however, the tantrum carried over to the check out line. He was roaring at his mother as she paid for his new toy. I looked at him and said, "We don't allow screaming in the Tractor Supply." Very matter of factly. He stared at me consideringly, and then promptly turned to his mother and bellowed "ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!" at the top of his lungs. He wasn't mad. He wasn't saying anything. He was just bellowing. I immediately interrupted him, saying sternly. "I'm not joking. We do not allow screaming in the Tractor Supply. You need to stop that right now." Shocked, he did. His mother said, "You need to remember that rule. You cannot scream at the Tractor Supply," as they headed out the door. I hope she remembers it too. That one stern, no nonsense admonishment stopped his bad behavior immediately. I hope she gives it a try.