Sunday, July 8, 2007

TCC: The Seventh Crumb, Part I

Perhaps it is tantamount unto plagiarism; but the opening line of Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities" is a perfect description of what I felt in the fall of 1976. For it really was the best of times and the worst of times for me back then.

Yes, I was absolutely ecstatic about Sam's decision to take me back into her heart; but it came at a terrible price. For I had to choose between what was and what could be.

No, none of this account is meant to portray Sam as being rather selfish, nor quite demanding. For it would have been grossly unfair to expect her to have virtually no social life to speak of until "Jerry came a-marchin' home again" with her growing popularity from being a member of Cassville High Schools Pep Squad, which performed choreographed dance routines at their football and basketball games.

Nonetheless: I was still left between the proverbial "rock and a hard place". For I knew that our lives together would greatly suffer if I did not return to school; but since my parents would not allow me to drive my pick-up truck back and forth: I could not return to school without losing Sam.

Yes, I suppose that the smart thing to do would have been to forget about love until I could really afford it. For my future was looking very bright indeed; but my heart would not be denied.

So: I did what needed to be done to survive on my own; and all was going fairly well until I made a very serious error in judgment. For I went unto my old Scoutmaster to ask him for some advice on how to deal with my parents; and he then betrayed me unto them.

No, I should not have blamed him. For he did what he truly believed was in the best interest of all concerned.

Nonetheless: I had trusted him with the knowledge of me no longer being at school in Columbia; and the fall-out from his decision turned-out to be devastating unto all of the parties involved. For the "stuff" really hit the fan that time; and I wound-up being an orphan (for all intents and purposes) for quite awhile.

Since so much damage had been already done: I did not see much of a down-side unto "repossessing" "MY" pick-up truck. For it was not like my parents could get me arrested for Grand Theft Auto.

Yes, I could be said that it was a "hostile take-over" of sorts. For I snuck-up to the place under the cover of darkness; and my parents considered my audacity to be quite outrageous (not to mention: a great insult unto them).

On the other hand: it sure made my life a lot easier. For I no longer had to depend upon the kindness of others to get around.

A case of having my cake and being able to eat it too? For having my truck meant that I could go back to school AND see Sam often enough to keep her appeased: right?

Hardly. For I could not afford to drive back and forth from Columbia without getting a job; and there were not enough hours in a day to pull it off.

Besides: my passion for formal learning had gone into hibernation; and all efforts to revive it were unsuccessful. For I got a "C" in Introductory Electrical Engineering, and a "F" in Introductory Accounting, out of enrolling in a couple of night courses at SMS (Southwest Missouri State, now: Missouri State) in Springfield (around 60 miles northeast of Cassville) for the Spring Semester of 1977.

Ultimately: some good did come out of my futile attempt to continue my education. For my parents were encouraged; but we remained somewhat estranged for the time being.

Talk about being in an uncomfortable position: that is where I found myself in those days. For crossing paths with my parents was unavoidable in such a small town (population: 1,910); and the level of discomfort increased dramatically when I went back to work for Kenneth and Lucille Johnson.

No, I do not doubt that it was just as bad for my parents: especially for my mother. For she was the head of the Sporting Goods Department at Johnson's; and I often challenged her judgment, as well as her authority.

Yes, I was particularly wrong of me to treat her so disrespectfully. For she was still my mother; and she really did know what she was doing at Johnson's: as generations of customers would readily attest unto.

Whether justified or not: I was angry. For I blamed my parents for me being there at work in Cassville instead of being at school in Columbia; and my mother presented me with a rather easy target to hit.

Yes, all the ugliness took much away from the place; but working at Johnson's was still an experience that I have many fond memories of. For the store offered as much merchandise as a standard-sized (not a Supercenter) Wal-Mart did in a third of the floorspace.

Moreover: Johnson's was famous for having a unusually wide variety of items in inventory. In fact: the slogan of the store was "If We Don't Have It, You Don't Need It".

An example of that could have been found in the Sporting Goods Department. For hundreds of different fishing lures hung on the walls; and aside from having all of the most popular types and styles of rifles, pistols and shotguns in all of the most popular calibers: there were also 218 Bees, 22 Hornets, 22 Magnum rifle/20 Gauge shotgun over/unders, Winchester Centennial 30-30's, 30-40 Krags, 45-70's, along with plenty of ammunition for whole lot, of course.

Needless to say: the store was packed unto the rafters; and there was a running joke about not wanting to be in the store when the time for the New Madrid (pronounced: New Madree) Fault in the "bootheel region" of Southeastern Missouri to generate another mammoth earthquake came to pass. For with ceilings of 15 to 20 feet tall: it would take days, maybe even weeks, to dig out.

Ever so slowly: the relationship between my parents and I was improving; but then a "situation" involving my brother threatened to negate all of the progress that had been made. For Terry decided to run-away from home; and I got blamed for his short-lived dash for daylight.

No, I had nothing to do with it; and I tried to be as helpful as I could be unto my parents after he made his escape. For I could have just kept it unto myself that I had a feeling about Terry probably being at one of his friend's house in Butterfield (around 5 miles north of Cassville) if I wanted to cause trouble; but I did what any good older son would do: I ratted-out my little brother.

Yes, Terry was found in Butterfield; but my parents were not in a mood to be grateful for my help. For they had it in their heads that he would have never even thought of doing anything like that if I had not of set such a bad example for him to follow.

No, all was not soon forgiven; let alone: forgotten. For holding grudges comes quite naturally unto my family; but when the time for the wedding came around: my family came around enough to attend.

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