I met my folks at their house after church this past Sunday, and we flopped into their Ford Flex. Destination, Gustine, Texas. The City Café was on our radar.
This wasn’t a short drive to a leisurely lunch. It was to eat, but the proceeds were being contributed to a man whose family members were recently killed in a traffic accident near Gustine.
When we arrived we couldn’t get near the City Café. Lines of vehicles were parked outside. If any encouragement can be gleaned from such a somber incident as the deaths of family members, this was it.
The sight of all those people gathering in support and encouragement for this man and his family made me realize that God is indeed at work in this world. How else do you explain such an outpouring of love?
We didn’t stop and eat there. Don’t worry we hadn’t forgotten our objective; donation and food for the physical body. One would be taken care of within hours, another the next day.
On to Comanche, Texas, were the new orders. Oh, I forgot to mention that Sadie, the dog was with us also.
Once in Comanche, I asked dad if he would go to the new Ace Hardware Store that just opened. He was cooperative with my request, as he was searching for a new heater to put in his greenhouse.
The fan in the heater that presently hung in the greenhouse had quit working. Being as this was January, a mean winter storm was headed toward Hamilton and a replacement heater was in demand. I was in search of a job.
We arrived at Ace Hardware and made our entry. Mom and Sadie, the dog, would stay outside in the Flex. We did leave the windows down just a crack for them. It was a cold day so that was just to circulate some air. (Although when we came back to the car I did notice that Mom was sticking her nose out the crack in the window.)
Once inside a lovely lady in black greeted us. We soon realized she didn’t work there, so we quit following her around, and stopped asking her questions about heaters and jobs.
On to the Ace Hardware employees. They didn't have the type of heater for which dad was searching. Their available supply of heaters was sparse, probably because the weather channel had been warning us; it was about to get Alaska cold in Texas. I did acquire a job application, more on that later.
Dad and I returned to the Flex, and as this heater safari had increased our hunger we soon found the Harvest Restaurant on the square in Comanche. On Sundays it is buffet only. Masking our disappointment at this, we soldiered on and took a table in the middle of the place.
We made do with mixed vegetables, thyme roasted potatoes, (I’ll spell potatoes how I want. It’s not like it’s nationwide newsworthy.), pork loin, with honey Dijon mustard, sweet chili chicken, fried catfish, and a stand alone chili, with cheese and onions available. For desert, chocolate bread pudding.
I only took a small sample of each. As the pictures I’ve posted will show, Mom and Dad, well, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
I don’t have a real sensitive palate. I either like it or I don’t. I liked everything they served on the buffet. Mom said the chili was too peppery. So, there ya’ go.
We were fortunate to meet one of the owners of the restaurant, Sarimah Sanders. She was born in Singapore, and husband, Todd, met her on his travels. Todd is from Temecula, California and his love of hunting landed them in Comanche, Texas. Todd was in the back “chefin,” it up.
Since dad was raised in Lemon Grove, California, which is apparently on the opposite side of San Diego, from Temecula, they had a bit to talk about. I just sat there and listened to mom, dad, and Sarimah talking about California, and ate my chocolate bread pudding, cake thing. I liked it.
Next stop, Tractor Supply, still searching for that elusive heater. We didn’t find the proper heater for the greenhouse, but we did manage to collect a large Tootsie Roll, some kind of chewy things, and a Mr. Pibb.
Back to the car and Sadie, the dog. (By the way Sadie was being well fed and had plenty of water on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat.) Back to Hamilton.
Monday, still kinda’ cold. I filled out the application for the Ace Hardware Store in Comanche, so I would need to return it. Before going to Comanche, dad and I had to get some drugs, and I had to drop off some cash. We made our plans.
I dropped dad off at City Drug Store, on the square in Hamilton so he could fill mom's prescription. Meanwhile, I drove around to the other side of the square, parking in front of Rountree Appliance.
Easing into the place I approached the pretty lady behind the counter and put some cash in her hand. The deal was done. The donation intended for Sunday in Gustine was made on Monday in Hamilton.
Leaving there I drove farther than I should have just to park on the street next to Hamilton's City Hall. I needed to discuss some business with a man in there. It had to do with some cleaning that man needed done. He was easy to find.
"Sir," I said, "I'm following up on the part-time custodian job, for which I applied."
The man eased up next to me and said, "I'll know something in one to three weeks."
Taking a quick look around, I made my move. Grabbing my wallet I whisked out a card, my son Jim, made for me a few years back. Covertly I placed it in his hand and said, "You can email me when you have the necessary information." He seemed the type that preferred doing things online, rather than on the phone. Then I left.
Returning to the pickup, I drove around the square to pickup my Dad and the drugs. His connection had not yet delivered what he needed, so I parked and strolled inside.
Upon seeing that I was there, the deal was finally done. It was two fifteen in the afternoon and dad and I were making the quick trip to Comanche, Texas.
Dad came along for the ride. He was no longer searching for a heater. He had ordered exactly what he needed on Amazon. Wouldn’t it be cool if an Amazon drone dropped that heater into the bed of the Ford pickup we were in, on our way to Comanche.
After I filled out that application, I prayed over it, as I do with each application I have filled out lately. From my hands, to the hands of Colton, the manager, at Ace Hardware in Comanche. I didn’t tell him it was delivered with a prayer.
Colton was a likeable fellow in his thirties that said, “I’m putting my team together, I’ll let you know something soon.” With a handshake I was back at the pickup and dad.
Dad did have a purpose with his come along ride. He would be purchasing a few groceries at Brookshire’s in Comanche. In order to do this he had been given the list.
As we pulled into Brookshire's I spotted a large pistol strapped to the top of a flatbed trailer. It was perhaps paper mache, perhaps something more substantial. It was picture worthy.
I then realized my worst fears. I had left my iphone in the bathroom stall at Allsups just down the road from where we were. Do I need to explain more? No.
I borrowed dad’s phone and made a quick call to the affable Allsups employees. While talking to Allsups, my brother-in-law called on dad’s phone and I had to decline it.
We found out later that apparently during all this going, dad’s phone had called my brother-in-law and he had been enjoying the conversation between dad and I.
Allsups informed me they had my phone and would gladly return it if I wanted to swing back by there. I did just that after dad made his necessary purchases at Brookshire's.
From there dad and I finally returned to Hamilton. We were just in time to cozy ourselves into our homes as the temperatures fell far below freezing.