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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Macks; The Bees

I loved that job more then any other I ever had! Because working at Macks Fruit and Vegetables was apart of a small community. It was a local grocery store/fruit stand. I was 19 when I first got that job. I will never forget that first morning walking into the shop with the humming sounds of the motors from the coolers full of meats and cheeses. There was an old lady named Dora running the place with a clear frown on her face as she was talking on the phone while a customer waiting on her. I would soon learn that her frown didn't really mean anything, she was usually thinking deeply or worrying about something. I made sure to do whatever she asked of me right away and soon we became friends. I walked in on my very first morning without knowing what I could do to help. The customer who had been waiting just snorted at me as I explained I was new. The lady looked over to where Dora was talking still on the phone, I stood wondering what could I do? So I replied "Was she ringing you up?" The lady customer nodded frustratedly replying "I have a food stamp card, you just need to slide it like a credit card...BUT that old lady can't work the machine I guess.." I nodded with a smile and made small talk as I took the food stamp card to slide it in the machine, waiting on the next step, The lady customer grinned big while happily saying "Younger people usually understand technology faster." I nodded again, handed her receipt and she left quickly.  I stood there watching her leave while chuckling to myself thinking that if anyone disliked technology it was me! I had to calm an angry Dora down when she saw the customer was gone, I was able to explain everything I had done to reassure her that the customer didn't leave with free groceries. Dora sighed helplessly "I hate these machines! What is wrong with just paying with cash? Those food stamps are now on a sliding card! WE are making it easier and easier for them to spend our taxes." I smiled big at the old lady for I thought she was so funny! (even if we got off to a bad start.) I would learn both to stay out of her way and know I should take her side over the customer every time. When I asked her how does the registers work, she said she didn't really know. Then I asked her where the broom was and she wasn't sure they even had one. The fact that Dora didn't know anything made me worry that just standing around wasn't right. She kept saying that I best not do anything until Larry got back, Larry was the owner of the store. I asked how long would that be? She shrugged saying maybe 2 hours or so. I was dumbfounded by this! I could not stand around for 2 hours doing nothing! So I began to visit with Dora trying learn more about her, I asked her thoughtfully "Is this your first day too?" Because she didn't know very much about the place, she didn't seem setup to welcome the customers or even run the cash register. Then Dora burst out laughing, shaking her head as if she thought I was crazy. "No! hahahahahahahahaha." She laughed kindheartedly, she was not mad or annoyed at me anymore. She finally stopped laughing so much to explain that Larry was her son. Her husband and her started this store over 30 years ago. I was so surprise but realized it all made sense now. Larry needed me to start that very hour he didn't like leaving his grumpy mother all alone in the shop. Dora liked working in the mornings only, Larry would drive her home mid afternoons. She was a tough woman, short and stout, Dora wasn't someone I ever wanted to cross. When she left in the early afternoons I would do the things she didn't want done. Like cleaning the trash cans or tossing expired boxes of yogurt out. That first morning I worked we talked and talked, just getting to know each other. I even helped a few customers then I thought I should dump the trash cans, Dora warned me not to do any real work until her son got back. Yet I went off to toss the cans full of rotting fruits into the dumpster just as a swarm of bees attacked me. I was so surprised by this moment that I ran swinging my arms over my head until I made it back inside the store. Dora stood watching with wide eyes as she saw me dancing my way in quickly, She warned "I told you not to do anything! We have a bees nest by the dumpster and the boys are going to take care of it later." She shook her head of white thin hair that was pulled back into a tiny pony tail. I just stood there surprised and glad to not have been stung. I was wondering to myself if this job was going to be right for me or not. As a big spider was crawling up my arm, Dora pointed it out to me quickly and she tried to wipe it off. She was impressed that I stayed so calm as I explained "I'm not afraid of spiders, but I am afraid of bees!" She chuckled again. Then I went onto another new adventure, Looking for the broom.......

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