As I walk across the parking lot of the Eatemup,
I realize how cold it is. Okay, so itís not Cleveland, Ohio or
Dearborn, Michigan cold, but itís pretty cold for Stafford, Texas.
This is not why I moved here. I want it warm. Not hot. Not cold.
Just warm thank you.
Alright, so thereís no ice forming over water
puddles or hanging from the elevated electrical lines. And my
nose, ears, and cheeks wonít freeze, but it still feels cold to
me. I know I should be wearing my heavy coat and even my gloves,
but Iím sure people would laugh at me. I donít need any more
people laughing at me.
Just going through the door of the Eatemup and
feeling the welcoming warmth flood over me cheers my body and
soul. The warmth must work for everybody because thereís a murmur
of conversation and laughter flowing from the various booths.
Nothing like outside where itís cold and
everyone walks with their head down trying to protect themselves
from the wind. I had been told when I first immigrated to Texas
the wind here was the laziest in the world. I asked why. Seems
like the wind was too lazy to go around you it just went through
As I slide into the seat beside Eddie, he kinda
leaned back toward the window giving me the, "I donít believe you"
look. "Why are you looking at me like that?" I asked checking
various areas of my clothes to make sure there are no zippers not
zipped that should be. I wonder if Iíve got something on my face
left over from breakfast. Quickly running my hand over my cheeks
and mouth I donít feel what may be construed as left over food.
"I was just watching you as you walked across
the lot, and you look like you should be in Fargo," answered
Eddie. "It has to be in the high forties out there. Thatís above
zero, not below. Iím surprised youíre not wearing one of your old
Air Force parkaís with the mukluks to beat off the cold."
"Hey, Iím sensitive. What can I say?" I
respond. "Itís hard to believe I used to walk to school in the
dead of winter in Ohio, and it didnít seem this cold. I remember
combing my hair with just water, and it would freeze. Then after a
few minutes in the school house, that ice on my head would melt,
and Iíd have streams of water running down my head."
"Donít start with me about how bad you had it
as a kid," said Eddie. "Most of us old guys had it pretty tough. I
donít know anyone growing up at that time that lived in the lap of
luxury. In fact, most of us were so poor we couldnít even pay
attention. If we got a second hand pair of shoes that didnít have
holes in them, we thought they were new."
"You wore hand me down shoes?" I questioned.
Immediately I felt stupid. Knowing that Eddie had spent most of
his youth during the depression on a farm in Arkansas, I should
have known there was little money to spare for new shoes. It was
more important to have food and a place to live.
"Yeah, when we could getíem," said Eddie
thoughtfully. "Shoes were for wearing in the winter. As soon as it
got warm enough, we would go barefoot. It was pretty hard on the
feet each spring, but we got used to it. I tell Ďya it was those
bib overhauls I didnít like. We seldom had a shirt to wear and we
would get pretty sunburned. But we survived and most of us went on
to bigger and better things."
About that time Tiny walked in and slid into
his seat. "What, no LeRoy yet?" he asked. "You guys look like you
were in some pretty serious conversation when I came in. You
talking about Iraq?"
"Not really" I answered. "More like North
Dakota. Where it freezes in June and people run around without
shoes and walk three miles to school in two feet of snow, and itís
up hill both ways. You know like that."
"Well, thank God itís not like that here,"
responded Tiny. "Say, isnít it nice out today? I started to wear
my jacket, but it was just too warm."
Just then LeRoy walked in removing his coat on
his way to the booth. As he slid in on his side he said, "Whew,
its cold out there." See. Peace.