(Continuation of manuscript from 2/26)
My dad’s family of sharecroppers didn’t make enough money pickin’ cotton for some of the basic necessities of life, never mind luxury items. Things like watches were for rich folks. Poor folks new work started before the first rain of sunlight kissed the cotton bloom and ended after the sun dropped the curtain on another day.
When the days came and those kids could afford a watch, they had one, not for the sake of jewelry, but for the need of being on time for work. There was a distinct difference between a watch and jewelry. Even earrings, necklaces, and rings were far and few between for the girls, never mind the men.Jewelry is the last thing on a kid’s mind when they’re in need of a pair of shoes.
When I was a kid we struggled too, but nothing compared to the harsh world my dad had known. We didn’t have jewelry either. My mom sported only her wedding ring that was worn thin opposite the humble diamond side of that little circle of devotion.
The blue collar side of the tracks that we hailed from meant spending money was measured in second-grade mathematical equations. If we wanted more – we worked.
It was the summer after sixth grade. My buddy Greg and I were knockin’ on doors in the little town that is famous for being the hot spot in the nation on occasion – that with taking the temperature down by the lake, where it’s a hint cooler.
The little town of Lake Havasu City is also famous for a couple other things; one, the transplanted London Bridge. And two, rocks. It’s some of the nastiest soil I’ve toiled in.
After the severe summer rain storms, back before they called them “monsoons”, folks front yards would be decimated. What little top soil there was, was washed to the street and whisked off toward the lake by the violent summer rains.
There are only two types of folks that knock on doors trying to sell things; greedy people and desperate people. Greg and I fell into the latter category.
Most people, like nineteen out of twenty, got downright angry for having to haul their backyards off the couch and stroll to their front door to shoo away a door to door salesman. Even more so when they’re punk kids trying to get into wallets.
Every so often we’d get lucky. We’d offer to rake the rocks in their front yards, which always turned out to be tons, for forty bucks. Plus we had to haul them off the property to boot. Since it took two, three, even sometimes four full work days, in 120 plus degrees, it was close to slave labor.
Come payday we were kings with our very own greenbacks. We did what most dumb kids did…. We peddled our bikes down to Zimmerman’s and forfeited our hard earned cash for Rock-N-Roll.
My first payday helped line Elton John’s mohair suit pocket via the album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.