I’m pretty much a creature of habit. Take Mondays, for example. I sleep a little later (I can do that since I work through the night). I pray a little longer. There is usually more laundry than usual after a weekend filled with grandkids and I always wear a blue shirt to work. It reflects my mood.
Today, though, Tyler stopped by.
With Tyler, you just never know. He is my first-born. Usually the most cautious. Sometimes…not so much. Those are the adventurous times.
I was getting ready to work-out when he stopped by. He needed a ride. When he needs a ride, I always know adventure lies ahead.
It started Saturday when he went shopping at the thrift store. That’s something we started a long time ago. Another story. He recognized the cashier, Elaine. He used to be her boss once upon another lifetime. He left the store with his newfound treasures, later telling me, “I don’t think she charged me full price.” In the parking lot is where he spotted what he was really looking for…a tiny little Geo. He drives a Suburban. I’m pretty sure he’s tired of paying for gasoline.
He went back inside the thrift store asking person after person, “Excuse me…are you the owner of the blue Geo?” Each answer was no. Just when he though he’d asked everyone, he found one last hope. “Excuse me, sir…would you happen to know the owner of the blue Geo?” The gentleman pointed to a lady not so far away. Right then and there, he asked her if he could buy her car.
She laughed hysterically.
Today I took him to pick up that blue Geo just like I did six years ago, though not so far away. Between his two jobs back then, he was working from cain’t see to cain’t see, making a home for the beautiful girl he’d fallen in love with and the sweet baby girl they’d just brought into the world. We drove to Tulsa to pick up that blue Geo and I remember watching him in the rearview mirror the entire ride home, praying non-stop that he wouldn’t fall asleep behind the wheel. He worked too hard and a good night’s sleep was something he never had in those days.
He made the drive safely from Tulsa to OKC but not so long after, he did wreck that car falling asleep behind the wheel.
Today he made a phone call to let the owner of the blue Geo know that he was on his way to pay her. He referred to her as “Opal” and I felt strangely peaceful about the whole thing. That is my alias. When I’m with my old lady friends, I am Opal.
With Tyler, there are no strangers. People treat him like family and often want to keep him as their own. That’s kind of what happened when he knocked on Miss Opal’s door. Kind of. They hadn’t completely ruled out “crazy white boy” just yet. He knocked on her door and was greeted with genuine warmth, like an old friend. I saw that she had the good sense to have a Garden Gnome so I was feeling better by the minute. He introduced me to Miss Opal and I said to her, “I understand he hunted you down in the thrift store.” She told me that indeed, he had. That she loved that thrift store and she shopped there every time she needed therapy. It only took an instant to love her.
Miss Opal and her family told him everything he needed to know about “Old Blue”, arranged another meeting for the title transfer, and handed over the keys.
I watched in the rearview mirror as we drove home, just like before, this time smiling at the simple joy of seeing him driving that tiny little car that will save so much money on gas. He still works two jobs. Most nights now, he does get a good night’s sleep.
I went to work in my blue shirt, still laughing about that blue car. And at the end of the night, I saw Elaine (cashier from the thrift shop). She came running toward me with a something to say. “You’ll never guess who I saw.”
“I heard,” I told her. “Did he happen to ask you about the car in the parking lot?”
“He asked everyone about the car in the parking lot,” she answered.
I told her he bought it today. “He said you didn’t charge him full price on his purchases.”
“I gave him my discount,” she smiled. “He’s like family to me.”