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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Break - Klecko Does America

Yesterday was a great day.

After finishing a quick 1/2 shift at work, I went into my caffeine laboratory and measured out the perfect levels of 5 hour energy, espresso, Diet Mountain Dew and Suda Fed.

After imbibing in this specialty cocktail I pointed the bread truck SE and headed for Iowa to go pick up my son so he could leave that corn field on Spring break.

The drive is 2 hours and 17 minutes long. This is a perfect period for a jaunt, provided that you don't have to encounter rain, snow or illness.

As I merged onto Hwy 52 for the 92 mile highway stint, I realized that the Twins had a Spring training game broadcast on 1500, and Joe Mauer's knee had recovered and he was inserted into the line up for the first time.

My caffeine pharmaceuticals were balanced exquisitely, I was jacked with energy, but not so much that I would end up in convulsions lol.

As the Twins plated a few runs, my mind started drifting back to the only Spring Break excursion that I had embarked on.

If you didn't know it, in Klecko's multi decade tenure in the Food Show, there was a semester where he attended private college. It was a Christian school. Klecko had some thoughts of the professional ministry, possibly a stint as a Cardinal, or who knows, maybe even a Pope.

The only problem though was I simply liked women too much. I figured God would understand this better than anybody.

So like a thief in the night, I left the campus and didn't tell a soul what I was going to do with the present, or my future.

I had this friend named Sime, he is a high level shrink of some kind, somewhere now days, but at the moment I left college, he hadn't started a single class. I think he was depressed because he never liked to make decisions, and choosing a lifetime vocation / career can be pretty numbing.

Sime lived in the basement of his mothers house. Like me, he was reared in a single parent household.

I used to snag chicks sympathy by explaining to them that I lived in a cinder block basement and slept on the floor in a sleeping bag, but Sime would just roll his eyes.

He slept in a basement laundry room on a cot that rested next to an octopus furnace that rumbled demonic noises. the only privacy he had was from sheets that were hung from ceiling rafters, and if a breeze passed through the basement, they looked like ghosts making merry.

The only other item of material wealth he possessed was a folding card table that held Bibles and other religious materials,it also propped up large shards of a broken mirror that had scriptures written on them with magic marker.

Sometimes when I was at his house, if he was eating or taking a shower. I would look up the scriptures. Sime was a King James guy, and if you tried to convert him to NIV or another translation he would get pissy and inform you that if the word of God had held true since 1611, there was no reason to stop now, but anyways....all his scriptures on his mirror fragments were based on fleeing the Devil.

You never saw anything about embracing the Christ, Sime just liked ditching Satan,and you know....that's why I dug that cat. He had an interesting P.O.V. and wouldn't sway for any man, woman or system.

So I walk into his basement and explain to him that the following morning, I was going to pack a duffel bag and head down towards Corpus Christi.

It was bone cold out that winter, and even though Sime had never done anything on the spur of the moment in his life, he had no reason not to join me.

A friend of our had dropped us on 35 and within 5 minutes the State Troopers tagged us and gave us each a $25 citation.

Sime wondered if it was an omen, but I told him there were only good omens and bad omens were for the weak.

I could write an entire novel on how we crossed the entire country like Bohemian Nomads, but that will have to wait.

By the time we made it to Corpus, we were drained. We rolled out our sleeping bags in amphitheater and passed out for 45 minutes.We we woke up, we declared Corpus Christi sucked and made our way home. We had been on the road, slept under bridges, in truck stop restrooms, been seduced by Emmy Lou Harris's back up singers as well a middle aged medical rep dude in Blackwell Oklahoma.

There were rides where people would pay for you at cafe's and other guys who'd pull over and boot your a** out just for saying "John Lennon didn't have anything original to say."

But the coolest guy was Robin, but before I tell you about that, you have to understand "The Rotation Principal". When 2 guys are crossing America, you have to have a system.

Me and Sime devised a plan where on one ride he would get to sit up front, and I would hop in the back and sleep. On the next ride I would rotate.

Both guys are not allowed to sleep because people are weird and the world is not always what it was created to be.

So Robin drove a crappy little Volvo with all of his belongings in it. This was the early 80's and all of America was heading to Houston. It was the land of opportunity, and the fastest growing city on the continent.

I think he picked us up 50-80 miles north of Austin (I could be wrong) and for over an hour he was OK. Usually people pick you up for one of three reasons.

#1 -They are tired and want somebody to talk to. this makes the process of travel seem quicker and more enjoyable.

#2 -They want drugs.

#3 -They want to have sex with you and kill you when they are done.

I think Robin was a #3. After being cool for awhile, after building our trust....he kept looking at Sime in the rear view mirror, and he periodically rotated his sight line in my direction.

We were on a long stretch of nowheresville. It was kinda creepy. So being in the front seat my job was to bomb his plop a** with dialog, but Robin had his own agenda.

He slinked his hand into a plastic box while asking me / us ...."What kinda weapons ya'll carry?"

I just stared at him. I wasn't sure if Sime was sleeping (he wasn't, but if I turned around Robin would know I was scared, that would be bad).

Robin asked again "What kinda weapons y'all carrying?"

So this time I answered, actually I laughed lightly, not too much, that would denote fear, but just enough to throw out some F.O.F. (Freak Out Factor.)

So I lightly laugh and respond "We don't need weapons Robin."

Dude pulls out a big Buck knife like "Hunter Guy" always has attached to his belt, and he does that wrist flick thing and the blade pops out and was pointed in my direction.

"Why wouldn't you boys want to protect yourself?" he asked in a voice that was more creepy than inquisitive.

But I realized my life rested in his hands, when you have no options....you punt.

"We don't need weapons Robin, we travel in the midst of angels, and I am certain that you can either see them or feel their presence. I am a child of GOD and if you so much as raise a hand in our direction a legion of angels will smite you!!!!!"

So now I realize Sime is awake because he starts laughing in a powerful, but sinister laugh, and I chimed in, both of us staring down Robin like our life depended on it.

Robin folded the knife up and put it away. He didn't utter a peep for a 1/2 hour. Sime and I kept "The Stare" welded on him.

Finally he saw a gas station and told us he was stopping to get some stuff. He popped the trunk cuz one of the duffels was back there (the other was in the back seat).

So when he walked in Sime started to gather up his stuff so we could high tail it out of there, but I was kinda pissed off, kinda thrilled to not be dead, and just flat out jacked.

"F him Sime. we're not going anywhere. Let's make that dick take us farther down the road.'

Sime was tripping, he argued that we shouldn't tempt fate. I told him he'd need to start standing up when he went pee, cuz I was staying,and to Simes credit....he said "F" Robin, and Sime never swore.

So our scaredy cat killer was looking out the big picture windows that gas stations have. He seemed to be taking an extra long time. I told Sime that was because now he was wigged and was hoping we'd get out.

A couple minutes later ol boy stuck his head in the window and informed us "I bought y'all some Coca Cola's."

So lesson of the day, when somebody considers murdering you,and you are not packing, toss out the LEGION OF ANGELS dealio,if you use it with confidence.....and whose to say that maybe some of, well you get my point.

But I regress, and if you buy me a drink sometime, I'd be happy to tell you a million more hitch hiking stories. I traveled that way for years.

So now I turn off of HWY 52 and have around 55 minute through back roads in Amish country.This is the best part of the trip before I get to Brandt Hall to pick up the kid.

My Droid goes off and a woman on the other end doesn't intro herself, she just starts getting authoritative with me and is asking for cup cake price quotes.

She looking at ordering 40 000 over 10 days. The chick smelled so confident I assumed she was from a huge catering company, but when I asked when she needed the product,she said during the State Fair.

Then she went on to say she was quoted 3o cents per unit by a competitor, but if I wanted to, I could make unfrosted cup cakes and she could have them done on site.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my world. welcome to P.O.H. 101.

P-O-H is short for prisoner of hope, and if you talk to anybody who works in food production, they love to swap P-O-H stories.

I've had guys want me to make dinosaur head hamburger buns, Hawaiian hot dogs, Eucharist with wine mixed into the dough, that way the soldiers could consume Christ's flesh and blood in 1 mouthful instead of 2.

And the beat goes on, so I asked the woman if she had even been accepted by the State Fair yet, because crunching the numbers she needed and pricing out the options would take a couple hours, maybe 1/2 a day.

She said "No, no I haven't....but it's my dream."

You would be fricken amazed how many P.O.H.'s are really intelligent, nice people. cornerstones in the community I guess, but I kid you not....they've been drinking Rumpelstiltskin's Kool Aid and think that if I spin straw for them they are going to create gold.

If you are a nice person, the P.O.H. will suck more blood from you than a vampire. They don't know shame because they are not starting at the dollar sign and working their way back.....they are starting with the dream, and that my friends is why you need a Polish Deity, nothing else makes dreams come true.

If you are going to succeed in business, your concept has to start conservative and grow with prudent care.

There are zero lucky jackpots out there, every fortune is scripted.

The concept is almost to simple. People don't want to attach tedious to profit, but there really is no other way.

So I pull up in front of my kids dorm, I'm early of course, so while I'm officing in the bread truck, running the bread empire through my phone, Decorah's prize linebacker sneaks up behind me and says

"Let's go, Spring break starts now!"

After loading his stuff, he hops in with a huge smile on his face. I asked him what sonny boy was going to do on break and he flashed a dopey look on his face and said....

"I'm going to spend all my time with Papa!"

I knew he was full of crap, but I won't lie, it made me feel good.

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