Sunday, January 17, 2016
My Brilliant Career
A Plate Is Broken
Daddy believed in hard work and in the way it could shape your character, so on my 12th birthday he broke my plate.
“You’re old enough to help out around here now,” he explained as I picked up the shards of broken plate, while my Mom admonished him for using one of her “good” plates that matched instead of an old everyday mismatched plate for his ritual.
“Naw!” he insisted, “It has to be part of the set so she knows I mean it. You don’t get your plate filled for free no more!” Mama handed me the broom while muttering under her breath about finding that same plate in the next box of Duz laundry soap.
He went on to say, “Women only go to college to get their MRS degree. That’s what all your girlfriends are planning on doing. Getting to college and catching some doctor or lawyer and get set up for life! That ain’t for you! You will be like me and your Ma and go to the School of Hard Knocks.” His speech was interrupted momentarily with a snort of sorts from Mama so that glaring at her he then went on, “The only degree you gonna get is a degree in Life and it will serve you better than four years of book learning.”
Before I could protest, he smiled broadly and added, “So I got you a job waitressing at the Pixie Pancake Truck Stop off I-70 there. You start tomorrow. Dollar ten an hour plus tips. Once you get your first paycheck you can start paying 80 dollars a month room and board. Then maybe we’ll buy you another plate,” he added with a wink.
The next day when he dropped me off in the parking lot at the Pixie my stomach was full of butterflies and my legs felt like jelly. As I headed toward the door I reminded myself that I was a Hill and Hills are from hardy stock. My voice only squeaked a little when I introduced myself to the Manager, Mr. Skank. His name did not bode well for my future career.