My very first Real World job was at a little gift shop in Meridian Idaho about a 45 minute drive from the Orchard farm that I lived on at the age of 18. This gift shop also had a tea room that served brunch/lunch items. It was called "Cottage Expressions". I heard of the job through a friend and thought that maybe it was time for me to take the challenge. I felt so unsure if I could handle such responsibility with my lacking education. I hardly knew how to spell or how to add. I was very upset and easily embarrassed if I couldn't read a big word out loud. Also I was so sheltered that during the time of this job I was completely unaware of how people talk to each other. When driving my big tanker car I would stumble upon a flat tire or broken wind shield wipers in a storm, scared and confused I often panicked. Though my Father would stop by my work after I had called him with a concern about the car. One time it smelled like it was burning. He was often so frustrated at how clueless I was. That burning smell was the car being completely out of oil. Those were the things I simply knew nothing about. That is why my first job was a big milestone in my life, in my memory. I was now waking up in a scary new world. I remember It was getting close to Halloween when I actually worked along side the owner of the tea/gift shop. She had gathered most of her employees to the back storage room late one evening. She announced "We are going to win this years scarecrow contest!" My supervisor Christy had taken me under her wing in training and also gave me her friendship. She replied "Hell yeah!" Christy was a short middle aged woman who was both humorous and spunky. She was always giving me high-fives even after the hundredth try that I had gotten something right. She once said to my sister Dana when we were about to leave the Nampa store. "I just love Debby's pure innocence! And the look she makes when she is working hard to figure out what you just said is priceless!" Both her and Dana had some deeper understanding in that moment then did I. But I realized after she said that, how I often would agree to whatever anyone is saying as a quick reaction, then a second later say to myself "Now what?". Sometimes I was readable and people would just chuckle.
In the backroom that evening when we were working on the scarecrows. Those hours flew by with all of us stuffing scarecrows with straw, we glued buttons on the faces and tied gourds to the arms. Christy worked very closely with me then we ended up laughing at the funny things I did or said. I had learned along time ago how to laugh at my self along with others. It was almost midnight by the time I got home and since this was before the days of cell phones my parents were not happy. They had almost came looking for me, it was another part of growing up, being taught how to think of others. I somehow thought that since I now had a job my parents were going to automatically be done with their parenting. I was far from being able to function on my own, yet in my head I was finally ready to grow up.
Those scarecrows were huge, they were also very colorful in the yard of that gift shop. The yard was completely decked out with a red barn, hay bales, pumpkins and corn stalks.There must have been at least 8 scarecrows and that red barn played one song over and over again. It was a spoof of the famous country song at the time by Brooks&Dunn "The boot scootin boogie". For those scarecrows were displayed as if they were happily dancing to "The Scarecrow Boogie" I loved that year in the celebration for fall. When the whole town of Meridian was putting on that wonderful Fall festival! The setup had a hay bale maze in front of the town's post office, sidewalk shops, hot dog stands and face painting booths. Along with the great pumpkin craving contest and the horse rides. I found working in that cute cozy shop during such a time to be so memorable, I would watch down the streets to see it all alive with people and children! I would also be singing along to that repetitive music coming from the barn in the yard. I worked the cash register dancing along or stocking the seasonal scented candles that were on sale. Some days I would be working in the kitchen making salads and soups by the open window where the song was the loudest while many other co-workers hated the never ending song. I would just find myself happily humming along.
One night when the festival was in full swing and the tea room closed for the day. My supervisor Christy made me a large Carmel latte, She handed it to me right after a big crowd had just left the shop. "I bet you have never had a latte before." Chirsty announced looking at me. I took the big hot paper cup with foam and Carmel drizzle on top. "WOW what IS it?" I asked excitedly. She laughed while replying "I knew it! that is why I made it for you with only 2 shots of espresso. Girl, if you are going to work here ya'll need the caffeine!" She continued chuckling as she took over the cash register. I loved having her by my side when I rung people's purchases up. She was a charmer making everyone leave smiling and happy. I watched her every move and even repeated her phrases. "Thank Y'all for comin' in now!" As the gift shop door stayed open on that warm fall night the music of the scarecrow boogie flooded the room, while I felt a cozy warm feeling while drinking down my Carmel latte. I was laughing along side Christy through out the busy festival night. With this new found energy I found that as 9 pm came about and we still had a line of customers that I really could help them all! I wrapped breakable items in tissue paper, found collector boxes and printed out gift receipts. I answered the phone, I helped people find the Christmas room and served samples of hot cider all with such energy as it got later into that fall night. For I had this pure joy! Even long after 11 pm when the shop finally closed, I vacuumed and took out trash as if it was no work at all. Christy and I had crossed over from that very tired state of mind to pure laughter. As we both had tears in our eyes from laughing so hard and our lattes were completely drank. We found our closing mistakes to be even more hysterical. Once we turned out the lights and locked the door from outside, We headed to our cars only to stop suddenly by the sound of the music playing "...And that's how we do the scarecrow boogieeeeeeee...." Christy exclaimed with her car keys in hand looking at me "I forgot to turn off that damn song!" then we burst out laughing all over again.