Sunday, September 03, 2006
Rainbows of Regret
This morning at 5:15 a.m., as I went outside to look for my damn dog, a vague hint of autumn filled the air. The slightest tinge of a chill hung in the air, the undeniable marker left by temperatures failing to achieve summer norms, the air in a room that just witnessed Billie Holiday sing Stormy Blues.
Immediately, memories cascaded across my horizon and I found myself huddled inside a cardboard box, the Colorado cool early morning air nipping at my neck. Feeling a hand on my shoulder, I opened my eyes in the offensive quasi-light offered by night’s cowardly retreat, revealing a shadowy form that would prove to be my father.
Piggly Wiggly, having not yet crawled out of the primordial ooze of merchandising, fell far short of its full eventual evolution into a 24-hour, full-service, supermarket/pharmacy/liquor store in late August of 1955. Therefore, apparently, any thoughts of an eight-year-old boy getting into serious trouble during a week of residence behind a dumpster at a food store in a town eight miles east of my own, only slightly impacted my father’s concerns for my welfare.
Admittedly, I was a bit confused as I stood there in my Cub Scout uniform, suitcase in hand, waiting for the bus to pick me up. Dad had dropped me off on his way to work, assuring me that if I were to be a man, I shouldn’t cry or get lonesome at Camp. Apparently, only a big baby or momma’s boy would express concern after being informed by an assistant store manager that he needed to move along, that the bus didn’t stop here anymore.
But, a couple of the stock boys took pity on me after a day or so and regularly brought me treats. Along with the older produce they threw into the dumpster, I managed to keep my belly full.
No, my week of 'adversity training' wasn’t a torturous experience. However, I did learn a few valuable life lessons that I shall take to the grave with me:
1) Never again will a raw carrot ever find its way down my pie hole.
2) One can learn to take a crap almost anywhere.
3) Brown paper sacks tend to further irritate an already tender bunghole.
4) If your father asks you if you want to go to Panhandling Camp, decline in a manner that cannot possibly be misconstrued as acceptance.