Sunday, October 19, 2014

Plan B / ....leave a message

Doug Mathewson 

Plan B

   Since Dad was in the Air Force our family often moved when we were growing up. Even after they divorced Mom kept moving us. It just became a pattern I guess, and seemed natural. Finally after we ran out  of child support and alimony Mom needed “Plan B”. Santa Fe seemed like a good choice for the three of us. I already painted a mental picture of myself in Art School, my sister planned to rope and brand a cowboy boyfriend for her very own, and poor Mom just wanted a life. A small restaurant with an apartment upstairs over in the Rail Road district was for rent and we got to work. The three of us were excited and all pitched in. Mom is a great cook (she make left-overs exciting even on the  third or fourth time around) and got guys from other restaurants to moonlight in the kitchen on their days off. My sister would wait tables and turn her charm up to eleven. All I was much good for was bus tables, mop the floor, and do whatever art work was needed on menus, signs, and such.
   We all wanted a south western name for the place. A woman’s name, something with appeal that felt intimate and friendly. Arguing back and forth over “Cowgirl this” and “Coyote that” got us no place. It was my sisters idea to hang around the Central Plaza and ask some of the old-time cowboys for advice. “Fine”, said Mom, “you decide, I don’t care, just hurry up, and tell your brother so he can do the signs and print some flyers”. Sis did go talk to those old boys who sat and smoked in the shade by the bandstand. She asked them, “what is your most cherished memory? The best, most wonderful thing you have ever known? Something that will always, always makes you smile no-matter what.” They were a little shy at first, but finally agreed unanimously. When I heard it, I just couldn’t help  but go way-way over the top with the artwork (I thought Mom would be mad).                            
   The restaurant has really worked out ok. Yup, “Rodeo Whore” is quite the little success story, and man do we sell a lot of t-shirts online! 

.... leave a message 

Hello, .... hey it’s me! I’m calling you from Heaven. Can you believe it? This is the last place I’d even imagine ending up! So I only get one phone call, like jail I guess, and wanted to say thanks and goodbye at least for now. Everything happened so suddenly
there wasn’t a chance till now to say how  great you were to me. 

Heaven’s not like you might think. Nothing at all like those cartoons of people with wings
wearing white robes and standing around on clouds. Maybe it was like that once, but not now. I’ll have to ask some of the old timers once I learn my way around. Heaven, or
at least heaven now, is completely individualized. You stay endlessly in what ever was the happiest part of your life. That's what it seems like so far.
Up here I am nine years old and spend my time sitting or lying under different folding tables. The they are in a store that my older sister, Tina, worked at part time after school. It was a pinata store with hundreds of pinatas displayed hanging from the ceiling. Underneath were all these long tables piled high with party supplies including lots of Mexican candy to fill pinatas. There were so many strange sugary treats.  Some with pictures of beautiful ladies with fans dancing, and other ones with funny wrestlers wearing masks! Candy with Jesus or with Saints I didn’t really understand on the wrappers, but all the candy was pure sugar (especially my favorites the decorated sugar skulls). Candy that makes your teeth hurt and your head spin.

Our mom had told Tina she had to keep an eye on me after school, so she took me with her to work. I’d read comics I had brought from home, or borrowed, and eat as much candy as possible. I really loved being there. Hot afternoons, lying on the concrete floor
in the shade of a table with tales of super hero adventure to sweep my racing heart and brain along.

There weren’t many customers during the week back then, and none at all now. Tina’s not here either so I don’t know if she has her own special time and place in Heaven or
has gone to Hell like Sister Maria Dolores said she would. 

So far I haven’t seen anybody we know which, all things considered, probably makes sense. I shouldn’t form an opinion yet as most people our age are still young and healthy. I do wonder about older relatives, old people who were neighbors, family
friends, the postman or anybody. I can’t really picture them damned for eternity 
so they must be in their own Heaven. 

I hope it will be a a very long time before you get here, and some how I know that you will, but when you do, look for me. “Tio Bo-Bo’s” store in an old strip mall on RT-66, three blocks west of “Old Town” in Albuquerque new Mexico. I have freckles and a buzz-cut. You’ll know me. I’m the kid vibrating at a frequency only dogs can hear, a Jarittos fruit-punch in one shaky hand an old copy of “The Caped Avenger” in the other.

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