Today’s menu: Rib-b-que (I think), tater tots, pears, two slices bread
I ate. I was hungry. Believe it or not, I was too busy to even glance at the menu today to see what today’s meal was “called.” When I’m at work eating lunch is really a side note. I am so busy. But I think it was the “rib-b-que” and I think it’s all beef. It tasted ok. Tomorrow I’ll make sure to see what it was labeled on the menu. I do purposely try not to even glance at the menu because I like the “surprise.”
Today a student said, “I don’t like the letter F.”
Mrs. Q, “Why don’t you like the letter F?”
My student, “I just don’t like it.”
Well, you don’t have to have a reason!
I should have told the student that my favorite letter is Q!
I got a very sweet email from someone who mentioned that they had to stop reading my blog post yesterday when I mentioned that I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. I think that there are a new crop of readers who haven’t been along for the whole ride and so they might have missed a summer post in which I mentioned my experience with Wal-mart.
To summarize more than 15 years ago my mom owned a small business in my hometown (I moved around a lot so I call it my hometown even though I lived there only for my high school years). It was a darling little coffee shop in an economically depressed area. She opened it when she had been trying to support my sister and I on about $15,000 per year during a period of time when my dad wasn’t working and things were very hard (At the time I knew my parents’ marriage was slipping, but I didn’t know about any financial problems). I know she borrowed money from a more wealthy family member to start up the coffee shop and got a bank loan too.
My sister and I worked very part-time in the coffee shop and I think I earned about $3.60 per hour. We both worked in “the front” (behind the cash register), but my sister was definitely the social one and wanted to get all the attention up front (she was in middle school, had little pink glasses and was so charming with an apron on!) I worked in the back. Yes, folks I helped balance the books as a high schooler. This was the long-forgotten-era called “no computers.” We did have a Tandy at home with large floppy discs, but it was too clunky for anything besides one game and certainly didn’t have spreadsheets on it. I sat in the back tallying up figures across large grids. I got so mad when I couldn’t make everything come out! I would sit forever making sure it added up.
My mom hired some great people and my sister and I had a blast with the other workers when we showed up after school. But I also resented “the business” because my mom was working 12 hour days and I missed her. She gave benefits to employees and paid a living wage. The place did ok for just the first year of operation.
Then Wal-mart moved into our town.
Wal-mart chose the outskirts of the town a couple miles from the downtown. The downtown slowly died. My mom’s coffee shop was right downtown. In its first year of operation, this Walmart store won an award for sales.
Sales at the coffee shop started dropping off little by little. Certainly there were regulars but growth didn’t seem to a possibility. My mom worked for another two years as businesses started to shutter. My parents divorced, I moved away to college, and my mom’s coffee shop went under.
I will never forget turning off the lights for the last time. I realized that I would miss the place even though I’d disparaged it so much in high school (“do I have to?” kinda teenager-stuff).
You’ll be glad to know that even though we were all sad about the death of the business (the space is now a Subway!), my mom persevered. She moved away and went back to school to earn two more degrees. Her job right now suits her well and I couldn’t more proud of her. I grateful that I had that amazing experience working for my mom at such an important time in my development. I learned more there than I probably have retained from school! Certainly that was the beginning of my food education.