Some of you must be wondering how I got such a high-paying job with such little experience. Well, since I have been doing this for a few years, I thought I would fill you in. It has been a long time since I begged the editor to let me scratch out a few hundred words. I guess I should start at the beginning. I have always enjoyed writing but had little public exposure before we pushed the old century out and landed in 2023. Wow! When you write it out it sounds a lot longer than I thought.
I never imagined I would ever be published. I have written lots of stories, but most of them lie buried in my office. You see I wanted to write. I had seen a couple of successful guys and thought to myself, “Hey! I’ll bet I could do that,” but just didn’t have the right motivation. As time passed and more and more opportunities came my way, I landed a job as a produce broker, helped by the kindness of a South County fellow that was a customer of mine when I owned the gun store. He stands pretty tall in my heart.
It was a great job, and since I lived in Salinas in those days, I could literally walk to work. It turned out to be a wonderful job and the fellow I mentioned stuck his neck out a long way to bring an amateur in that had no experience. Work has always been a part of who I am, and we both seemed satisfied with the outcome.
A produce broker’s office gets pretty exciting in the morning and doesn’t cool down until after lunch. So you are answering phones like crazy and then it gets quiet. One of the fellows in my office subscribed to the Monterey Herald. If you were new in the office, you usually got the noon hour shift. So, I started reading that paper when the phones slowed down.
One day as I was reading, I saw a curious story by a syndicated news writer. She had in large letters asking who was going to be the “Woman of the Century.” I read the story and my curiosity was peaked. She mentioned a young woman who she thought should carry that mantle. It was almost eerie how that story struck me. I didn’t know at the time, but as I look back I felt touched by some power that I wasn’t aware of. I kept thinking of those nominated to be “Woman of the Century.” My mother’s face washed across me and I turned around and started writing. I felt my mom was as good a candidate as any other woman, so the words flew out of my finger tips to the keyboard.
In other words, I found the story, and although I have mentioned it before, this was my epiphany. I guess I should tell you that I would remember some episode my mother had and then I would wipe away the tears from my face as the memories of her kindness and love filled my heart. After I finished my initial writing, I must have read it at least 25 times. If it was about my mom, I felt it had to be right. I asked the other salesmen in the office to please read it and tell me what they thought.
Everyone I asked said it was a nice thing to say about my mom, so I figured that I’ll try the local paper, so I did. The paper really liked the story and asked for pictures. As you know, I was a photographer for a while so I had quite a few photos of my family. My mom was hesitant as she always felt that she was too ugly. Her words not mine. When she was 9 years old, she was playing and a plow share fell on her, which flattened her nose. Nothing I felt could ever make her ugly, so I drove to Wasco and picked a couple of what I thought would be good to go with my story.
Then, when the paper came out the next week, there was my mom and dad and a couple of my brothers, accompanied by my story. I’ll never be able to thank the folks that made that possible. Not only did my mom, who had a very tough time growing up, but all my family thought I did her right. My heart swelled when she said she wanted that story read at her last service. That was truly a great way to try and tell stories. I have written often about my mom and I’m pretty sure I wrote that she was the hardest working woman I had ever known.
Then I met Lorraine. If you dislike any part of my stories, it is she who put my fingers to the keyboard. I know of no woman, and I’m including my mom who expressed more than once that I had met the girl she wanted me to marry. Lorraine works so hard taking care of our daughter, sons and grandkids. She reminds me of the Greek Sisyphus, who pushed the infamous stone up the hill, only I feel she works harder. Oh and did I mention our 9-week-old puppy, Ranger?
Since I was in Special Forces, I wanted him to have a military derived name. You know that the Rangers are the point of the spear. They are the true “Bad Guys.” They are usually inserted into secret locations by helicopter. The enemy can hear the helicopter, but the Rangers are gone by the time the enemy reaches their inserted point. They carry their rifle ammo and a radio, that’s all. I can still hear them calling in for extraction. They whispered to each other and on the radio.
I wanted our pup to be like those guys that whispered every word they used. They eschew speaking, and use hand signals. So “Ranger” is another warrior.