H. Neal Glanville: Starting the day

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H. Neal Glanville

Yesterday included one of those shifts in my upper hat holder when everything seemed to line up and make that momentary bit of sense.

It started normally. (Whoever thought any dose of normal might be healthy? Never mind, I must obey the laws of political correctness.)

I got up with the crack of dawn, built a pot of black sludge and tried not to start the day with a smoke.

As it was firing up, I let the memory of getting caught smoking wiggle its way in and replayed it.

I’m not sure who “borrowed” the cigarettes from my dad, but it was Grandpa who caught us behind the big garage.

Acting as natural as bank robbers caught in the vault, we dropped the “cigs” and waited as Grandpa kicked dirt over them.

He turned, pointed to the back of the house, and we marched forward.

I can remember standing by the double sinks in the mud room as Grandpa said, “If you’re going to smoke up here, you’re going to learn to build your own.”

We got the expert’s guide on how to roll our own and wandered down the path of smoking what you build.

I’d like to think that standing there at the sink with my brother Scott (the jackrabbit) coughing and throwing up stuff we’d eaten days earlier taught me something, but that plan is still working out.

Planet Stupid must have realigned with the backside of its own Milky Way, because I thought about Roy and I getting kicked out of that café in Meeker.

Not kicked out literally, but asked to leave for eating too much chili.

The sign did read “all-you-can-eat chili.”

For two overgrown teenagers who’d been fishing all day in the rainy, sleety weather, it was Grandma’s oatmeal with raisins.

We dove in and ate who knows how many bowls.

After a bit, the little girl waitress came over and told us the manager thought we’d had more than our share and we were cut off from the chili pot.

I couldn’t believe my ears: our share? How could you dole out shares at an all-you-can-eat chili fest?

Roy just smiled at the scared little girl and told her, “That’s fine, sis, we’re about to leave anyway.”

Roy gave me that infamous stern look, and we got up to leave.

As I pulled my jacket on, getting ready to argue his look, he gave that little girl money for the chili and three times more for a tip.

Now we were going to argue.

As we stepped outside the café, before I could form my first word, he laughed at me saying, “Can you imagine how scared that poor little girl was?”

How can you argue with that? That plan has worked out pretty good, and when I can, I leave too much. As I flipped the smoke away, I thought about Uncle Blaine’s’ story about cheating a blind person.

He was right — it can’t be done.

Hey, you be careful out there, and stay to the light.

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