Sweet and Sour.

Posted: August 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Life is all about seasons.
We go through stuff.
We GROW through stuff.
And sometimes you just look back and you are thankful that you survived certain seasons.
We all have weird seasons of life.
This is the story of one of those seasons for me. I’m much older now and HOPEFULLY a little wiser.

I was in my early 20s, I was a junior college dropout still living at home. Yup, I was your classic overachiever!
I found myself working three different jobs at the same time.
It wasn’t because I was ambitious or hard working. It was because I wanted to meet girls.

There was a big…REALLY big youth rally coming up. It was called Summit ’88. I was a youth leader at my church.
I was also a lonely guy.
The only single girls at our church were either 6 or 76. That didn’t work for me. I heard about this denominational rally, I suspected that there were going to be girls there from exotic places like Iowa.
I had to go.
I did have several good and  spiritual reasons to go to the event.
But, to be completely forthright and honest, I was hoping to meet a female person.
I was excited about the event.
But, I was poor and the trip was expensive.

So…I got three jobs in an effort to make the money to go from Tulsa to Denver for the big New Year’s Eve event.

First, I worked nights at a pizza place. It was a New York style pizza place that I think was owned by the mafia. It was managed by a guy who had actually been to New York. His name was Tony…seriously, true story!
Tony had a big, very impressive mustache and a quick, not so impressive temper. He liked to cuss and occasionally threw pizza dough. His wife worked there too, she was a very angry person, but, I think she liked me, she even gave me a nickname: “butt-face”. I’m pretty sure that she meant it in a sweet way. Despite my warm, fuzzy bosses, My least favorite part of this job was the uniform. I had to wear a thin cotton T-shirt that was 3 sizes too small for me. It was embarrassing, my man boobs were constantly on display. I felt like an object. I would squeeze into the unforgiving shirt which made breathing a real challenge and try to serve up slices of pie. I apologize to the people who tried to eat while viewing me packed like a sausage into that too tight shirt.

I ALSO worked at a lovely little chain shoe store. I would spend hours trying to fit size 14 feet into size 9 high heeled shoes. It was a fragrant place to work.
It was there at that shoe store where, one fateful day, I gave myself a hickey…seriously, true story.
We had rubber suction cups with hooks that held up window signs.
For some truly idiotic reason I attached one of the suction cups to my forehead, where, surprise! surprise! It made suction. Then it wouldn’t come off. It took me 7 panicked minutes to get the suction cup unattached from my face. It left a mark…a perfectly round, bright red hickey! My first and only hickey, and I gave it to myself. My dad was so proud. I got home from work that night, he looked at me, took a long drag from his Pall-Mall and said “what did you do now idiot?!”
I told him it was a biking accident.
I don’t know if he believed me.


FINALLY, I also worked at a sunglass kiosk at the mall. It was right between Orange Julius and the Hot Dog on a Stick place. This job was supposed to be my ticket to finally being cool! I mean, c’mon!! I was AT THE MALL! I was selling over prized sunglasses. But, It’s really hard to be cool with a big red hickey on your forehead.

The thing about seasons is that they don’t last forever…
I worked 47 days straight and made the money to get to Colorado. Fortunately, the hickey had disappeared and I didn’t have to wear my pizza place shirt.
There WAS a girl there from Iowa and we came dangerously close to meeting (we have the picture to prove it).
But, we didn’t meet for another year and a half. AND, then we met in another exotic place, Virginia.
Diana was beautiful and kind and creative. She still is.
She became my wife. She still is.
We NOW live in Denver (NC).
We have shared sweet and sour seasons.
That’s how life works.
I have discovered that the crazy seasons and the weird stuff in my story are all connected with the sweet seasons and the very good stuff.
It’s all related.
Don’t despise the weird seasons.
Don’t get beat down by the hard times.
It’s all leading you somewhere…
probably somewhere exotic like Iowa!

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