I stopped at one of my favorite accounts today. I'd arranged to meet a sales rep there but he was runnin' late so I just went on in to talk with the owner until he got there.
The owner's a big fella...over six foot tall with a frame like an offensive lineman. Even though his belly's as big around as his shoulders are broad...he's light on his feet. Got hands as big as an elephant's foot and when he grabs your's to shake it there's a flicker of apprehension...does this fella know his own strength?
No need to worry. He does and he's in no hurry to use it. In fact, even though there's an air of enthusiasm to every move he makes, he don't get in a hurry about nothin'. Always smilin'...a smile that's big even for his head. Teeth the size of dominoes. His eyes are clear blue and and active.
"Hey mayne...whatchya got fow me today?"
He reached for my hand.
"Getchya some tey mayne...get somma this tey I'm sellin now."
Who turns down a glass of iced tea?
"Wadya got dere cokecola....at's dark mayne. 'At must be unsweet. 'At unsweet's stout. So, wha kinda goodies you got fow me?"
We sat down at a card table in the middle of the store and went through my bag. He set a few items aside, and without turning from me threw a thumb over his shoulder and said..."I'll have ta let my mayne here have a look at 'eese."
I looked behind him to see a little wiry fella comin on toward us....in a deliberate manner. He was already bending at the waist so he wouldn't have to when he got to the table. He quickly scanned the items and, with the manners of a short order cook, he snatched one up..."This 'ere...how much is is 'ere?"
I told him we'd have to wait on the rep for prices. They have some latitude in that area and the last thing I want to do is get in the way of a rep's nickel.
"Well wha 'bou' dis? How much," he stopped hisself, "the rep...I reckon we just talked abou'dat." he shook his head and smiled at me. It was a genuine smile but thin. He's a dark fella...dark hair and eyes that seemed stuck in a forward position. He's a good fella though...even if he did stare at everything.
A chorus of "Heys"..."'ere's the big man."
The rep settled in to take their order from the little fella with the stare. I nursed my tea and laughed at the owner as he greeted the ladies that came through his door. He'd lift the Alabama cap off his sandy curls..."hey there sugah...how you been?" A peroxide in movie star glasses had just pulled the door open and he was reaching for his cap again when we heard his man ask the rep about condensed milk.
The little fella had a crooked smile on his face and the owner chuckled.
"He don need no damned condensed milk. He's got three cases of it back there."
Obviously there was a story here but me and the rep didn't get a chance to ask before the owner, with a smile that didn't seem exactly Christian, says..."you need to take that milk over that church. They's makin holiday candy."
"Ain't gonna happen."
"What...the Lord'll bless you for it. You don won the Lord to bless you."
"Them people got inta me for some money." the expression on his face seemed intense but really it was hard to tell.
The expression on the owners face was pure mischief. This was obviously a well oiled wind up.
"Who's into you for money? The people or the Lord?"
The philosophical nature of the question threw the little fella and he stammered.
Still grinnin' like he'd eaten the last Twinkie, he asked again, "Don't You want the Lord to bless you?"
The little fella's head started bobblin'. He didn't know whether to nod it or shake it. He stared down at the table like that for a second then looked up, hit the table with his fists and said, "I'll just go BUY some candy and hand it out myself."
Hahaha problem solved.
That was my day.