Saturday, July 14, 2007

TCC: The Eighth Crumb, Part II

Next stop: Amarillo, TX. For TSTI (Texas State Technical Institute) had been brought unto my attention in regards unto their saddle-making courses; and one of their locations was in Amarillo.

No, I never got around unto enrolling there. For after my brother dropped me off on Amarillo Boulevard: I did some research on the craft; and I did not like what I discovered. For the truth of the matter was that even those who had received a degree in saddle-making had to complete an apprenticeship under an established master (which could take up to 20 years) if they hoped to ever make a living from their work.

I still wanted to stay in Amarillo. For I was absolutely fascinated with the area; and even having to live out of the $300 car that I bought the day I arrived for the first few weeks could not dampen my enthusiasm.

Yes, I suppose that I was "homeless" at the time; but I was totally unaware of it. For that was before the term came into fashion.

No, that is not to say that I was totally unaware of my circumstances. For every night brought another adventure in finding a safe place (the boulevard was like a war zone at times) to sleep where the cops would let me alone; and with me being so sweet: an abundance of mosquitoes where always around.

Thankfully: it gradually got easier for me. For the owners of the car lot where I bought my "mobile home" invited me to stay in their office and look after the place after-hours; and I paid them back some by effecting a citizen's arrest upon a man (who was referred unto as being the "Rubber Stamp Bandit" by the Amarillo P.D.) who had defrauded them out of several thousand dollars.

No, being homeless did not mean that I was unemployed. For within a week of arriving: I had secured a job as a floor-stocker at the Levi-Strauss plant a mile or so east of the Amarillo City Limits on U.S. 60 (old Route 66); and a week or so later: I got a night job as a delivery driver/dishwasher for a Pizza Inn on the northside access road unto I-40 (around 7 miles southwest of Levi's).

So: why was I living out of my car? Well, it came down unto just one thing: BEER!!! For instead of spending my hard-earned money on rent and utility bills: I could spend it on beer; and with enough beer: I did not really care where I was.

Alas, I was not always able to buy enough beer. Therefore: I sought to find a place where I could have a bed to sleep-it-off on; and I settled for the Wagon Wheel Motel on the boulevard at $75 a week.

How could I have chosen otherwise? For with the room: came several neighbors; and what a group they were. For I was surrounded by hookers, drug dealers, dope fiends, ax-murderers, cannibals, sexual deviants and serial killers in training.

In other words: I was right in my element; and with the Cattleman's Club being just a couple of blocks west: I could not ask for more. For the Cattleman's reminded me of the Branding Iron; and it was not long before I was recognized as being a regular there.

Be assured that being a regular at the Cattleman's certainly had its benefits. For I got "lucky" on several occasions there.

Cheering me on was a bartender by the name of Sylvia; but I never got to first-base with her. For she was just too focused upon making as good of a living as she could for her children (bartending was her night job) to make time for any romantic escapades.

Despite all of that: we became fairly good friends; and it was through that friendship that I became acquainted with the term: "doppleganger twins". For after working on a ranch north of town for a couple of days: I headed straight for the Cattleman's; and when Sylvia saw me: she complimented me on looking so sharp in a western-styled suit, bolo tie, and a brand-new light gray Resistol cowboy hat the night before.

Needless to say: I was quite shocked to hear what she said. For I had been around 30 miles away the night in question; and it made me wonder about really having a long lost twin in the area.

Much unto my disappointment: that was all that there was unto it. For my "twin" was never seen around the place again.

Yes, the Cattleman's was a very special place unto me; and not for just the usual reasons. For it was also where I first met Margie.

Talk about His mysterious ways: such was our getting together. For she swore up and down that she NEVER gives out her home phone number unto anyone she has just met; and yet: that was exactly what she did with me.

No, there was nothing romantic (let alone: sexual) between us. For she wanted me as a little brother; and that was just fine with me.

Oh my, what a friend she was. For she offered me a sense of stability that was sorely missing from my life back then; and it came just in time, too. For I needed to have some stability unto my life in order to secure a much better paying job at IBP (Iowa Beef Processors).

Oh yes, working at the "The Beef" was a lot better than working at Levi's, or even Pizza Inn. For I was hired as a non-union night manager of the maintenance and clean-up supply department; and I really enjoyed being around most of the people who would come down unto my dungeon to check-out specialty tools and parts.

It was not all good, however. For just before Thanksgiving Day (1985): one of the day-shift mechanics gave me the phone number of a lady from his church (who also worked at IBP in an area that I had no contact with) whom he thought would be good for me; and after getting a look at Becky: I was very hopeful that he was right.

From the beginning: I got the feeling that she was as hopeful about me as I was about her; and after spending Thanksgiving Day with her and her children: there was no doubt about it. For she had became more and more affectionate as the day progressed; and by the time for her kids to go to bed: the stage was set for us to do the same.

That is: except for something that she had said earlier. For she had told me that she was really trying to be holy in the sight of the Lord; and that it was because of that goal that she had run-off previous boyfriends after having sex with them.

Therefore: I did something that should have gotten me kicked-out of the "Union of Manly Men" (UMM). For when she grabbed my hand to lead me unto her promised land: I told her that I wanted her for more than one night.

Pathetic, absolutely pathetic; and what made it even more so was that it was all for naught. For when I came by her place the next day: she did not want to let me in the front door (let alone: her arms); and after it became clear unto me that wanting to have sex was the same as actually having sex unto her: I could see that there was no hope for "us".

A couple of weeks later: I called to ask Becky what happened (just to make sure); and the answer she gave me was truly hard to take. For she said that she felt like we were going in opposite directions.

Hence: another scar on my heart. For I was on my best behavior around her; and I was planning on staying that way: 'til death do us part.

On the other hand: maybe she was right. For in March (I think) of 1986: I got fired from IBP because of "Suspicion Of Drinking On The Job".

No, it was not at all true. For I had not had a drink since 9AM that morning.

Nonetheless: I did make a mistake. For I failed to brush my teeth before reporting unto work at 5PM; and that was what was detected.

It was still messed-up. For the one who first said something about it was a union steward whom I had let smoke marijuana in my office at times: all without benefit unto myself. For I never touched the stuff.

All in all: it was an educational experience. For when they asked me to blow into a breathalizer: I registered a .026 (.010 will get you a drunk-driving charge); and no one in the room (including myself) had any thought of me being even the least bit drunk.

After that: I went to work as a dishwasher at a Carrows Restaurant (talk about having self-esteem issues); but then a couple of months later a miracle (unto me) transpired. For one of the electricians I had worked with at IBP came by to ask me if I would like to join him on a wheat-harvest crew for the summer.

YAHOO, the kid was back in the saddle again; and there appeared to be some destiny involved. For like dominoes positioned to knock-over the next in line: so where the steps taken to get unto that point. For if I had not of went to work at IBP: I may have never met Jack; and if I never met him: I may have never had an opportunity to go all the way up to Roundup, MT and back with a John Deere combine chained-down behind me.

The road unto Montana was not without its share of pot-holes, however. For I had never been around such an operation before; but by November (1986): the owner/operators of the outfit considered me to be a valued employee (they even told me so).

Obviously (unto those who know better): wheat was not the only thing we harvested. For we completed our wheat season in Roundup around the first of September; and then we headed back unto Amarillo to get geared-up for: corn, maize (grain sorghum), soybeans and even a patch or two of millet.

Along the way: I ran into some trouble with an Allsups manager by name of Terri in Friona, TX (around 70 miles southwest of Amarillo). For she slapped the smirk right off of my face after I smarted-off something that she did not appreciate as much as I thought she should.

Thankfully: all was forgiven by the next Saturday night. For we ran into each other at the Copper Penny in Clovis, NM (around 30 miles southwest of Friona); and for a month afterward: a torrid romance ensued between us.

Alas, it was over before it had hardly began; but it was probably for the best. For if Terri and I had of stayed a couple: I would have had to settle for hauling cattle feed for a local company (which promised very long hours at very low wages) because of her kids. Whereas: the next step in my progression did not end until I had driven over 2 million miles while visiting all of the lower 48 states of America and 5 provinces of Canada.

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