Think back about your very first paying job.
What do you remember about it? The low pay. The working conditions. The people you worked with.
There's a good chance your first boss is likely to be mixed in there somewhere.
I can see this man, but I cannot recall his name....maybe as this story comes out and I share it with you, I will remember his name, however... I do remember he had a daughter that was...well let's just say....she was easy to look at.
Seems like we were always finding an excuse to go by his house with some sort of problem to get some guidance on.....
Well since I can't wait around for you to answer the question, I will tell you about mine. So sit back and get comfortable for this short journey with me back to Jasper, Texas and my first job. Where I learned the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and the make you or break you mentality of being the paperboy.
There was about six or seven of us boys that managed to secure the residential routes in and around Jasper. The major portion of my route bordered two sides of the school property where the local junior high and high schools were located.
There was one street in particular; Olive Street, that had a vertical rise on it and it was 'THE' hill to challenge every kid with a bike....to see if they could make it to the top without jumping off and walking the bike to the top.......I beat it one time and one time only.
Getting back to the subject of this story, the Beaumont Enterprise and the Beaumont Journal were the obvious choices of local newspapers and to have these delivered to your home or business would require the human touch.
To assist in the delivery of the newspapers, someone came up with the idea to paint a series of letters on the road in front of each subscribers house that would indicate as to which paper to drop off. Seems simple enough right...?
Don't forget we are dealing with teenage boys, the weather, early morning hours, and the ever present customer that is innocent of any wrong doing other than expecting home delivery of their newspaper.
To get our supply of papers for our customers, we would meet at the local fast food establishment.
Now mind you at the time, we didn't have a clue as to what a fast food restaurant really was, but looking back, the Dixie Queen would have to be on the list.
I remember one morning the juke box was still turned on and one of the guys who will remain nameless, inserted a coin or two and we listened to the music while we folded our papers....mind you it was around 3:30 A.M., so I am certain the neighbors really appreciated us that morning.
Remember me telling you about the schools being in close proximity to my route? Did I happen to mention the rumor of the high school also being haunted along with the local movie theater?
Funny how information like that never comes to mind while you're across town and folding papers. But you just wait until you get on out on your route, tossing papers at the porches of your customers in the wee hours of the morning...a warm summer morning that just begs for a short break.
Using my new 1967 Honda Trail 90 motorcycle as my main mode of transportation for the deliveries, I pull up under a street light and remove my helmet for a well deserved breather. Sitting there thinking about almost being through with the morning run, my mind relaxes and I realize I am sitting about a full city block from ...........the haunted high school.
With all this eerie information spinning in my head, the next event of the morning could be classified as my encounter of the scariest kind. Fighting against the forces of evil that hide under the cover of darkness and invade young minds was more than I was ready for.
While finishing my short break, the next several minutes would etch upon my memory and quite possibly be the single reason my hair began to turn gray while I was still in junior high school.
I never realized that so many human senses, emotions, and reflexes could be called to order in such a short fashion. All due to the power of the mind...and I was absolutely certain that my very existence would soon be nothing more than a faint vapor on the streets of Jasper.
Beginning as quickly as it had ended, the shriek was as intense from its start to its finish. Precise and clear. There was no lead in, no warning, no sound of the tree that fell on the woman that morning as it she lay trapped and screamed a single time for her life.
The siren splitting the summer air, reaching my ears, causing the activation of self preservation to kick in.......or was that me on the kick start of my motorcycle...yeah must have been.
I would find out later that the murder I had only witnessed with my ears was in fact, a simple yet innocent chance meeting with nature but would certainly not be my last encounter with the common screech owl.
Oh yeah, due to the movement of several layers of brain cells, I have managed to recover the name of my boss from the Jasper paper route.
Here's to you Mr.Graham and the memory of tossing newspapers.