My mom was a stay at home mom with my brothers and I. She is a good mom. I look back at all the meals she made, the candy on the table, seasonal decorating, etc…she made our house a fun and loving home to grow up in. The days my dad took care of us was called “Fucking tough shit”. He was unpredictable, a coke was a meal, seatbelts were optional, teaching us poker, keeping us up late, and you had to embrace whatever adventure he took you on.
One day, my dad had to watch us while he was at work. My younger brother was 5, myself 7, and my older brother was 11. My older brother had on swimming shorts that were up to his fucking nuts. I had a dirty dress on that I picked up from my bedroom floor and jelly shoes. Lastly, my younger brother is wearing men’s size 8 shoes that say Budweiser all of over them. How the hell did my dad let us leave the house? And confident no one brushed their teeth either.
Dad: “You guys ready? Get in the truck.”
We jumped in the back of his work truck with gravel, landscaping machines, and possibly a bush. We fucking loved it. It was so liberating to feel the wind whip my unkept hair, which still is in yesterday’s ponytail. Flying through town and not giving a care that dirt is stamped on my underwear and my dress is flashing people. My dad is taking us from job to job. Visiting houses to see if his landscaping crew made it by the house. He would be pleased to see a yard cut, then swearing at the next house we visited.
Dad: “God Damn those fucking guys. They haven’t made it to the Jone’s house yet.”
With no cell phones, we literally had to drive the route his crew was on. We went to every house and business until we caught up with them. When we pulled up, he would just start screaming.
Dad: “te perediste fucken Thompson casa?”
Crew: “Oh maquina broken señor.”
Dad: “Que Fuck!!!!”
Dad: “Es la 3rd time!!”
Crew: “Ohh yea Miguel….” Poor guy couldn’t even finish a sentence with my dad talking over him.
Dad: “Vas a la Miller Casa?”
Dad: “Damit! Fuck, we missed their house last week. Shit. You need to get over to Miller casa immediately.” Speaking in a spanish accent, but not sure he is saying any Spanish words.
Dad: “que do you want for viveres? Uno, dos, tres cokes?” This was the most confusing shit to listen to. No wonder they missed the Miller house, they couldn’t understand what Señor boss was saying.
We hop back into the truck. My dad drove us to Otto’s…our local pub that is “home away from home” for my dad. We sat at the bar, had peanuts and cokes. I’m pretty impressed I don’t have a peanut allergy from the peanuts I inhaled at the counter as a kid. That was lunch. My dad would then give us $10 worth of quarters . He would plop into our tiny hands and we would run to play pin ball and darts for an hour. The darts were like huge needle knives. You wouldn’t dare give kids these darts today. Fuck. Just thinking about them freak me out a bit.
Time to go and bring the crew some lunch. We walk out into the sunshine, squinting my eyes for second.
Dad: “You tell your mom you were at White Hen.”
Me: “Okay.” I didn’t know where the fuck we were at. You can tell kids anything and they believe you. Just don’t get caught.
My whole life, every time I went to Otto’s my dad told me it was White Hen. Remember White Hen? It was the 7-11 of our time. White Hen was a convenient store located 100 yards away from Otto’s next to a laundry mat, random salon, and other failed businesses. White Hen was genius name for Otto’s alias.
We get back in the truck and my dad is now trying to find the crew again. We pull up to the client’s house. My dad sets down food on the grass, which is probably to cold to eat. I hop out of the truck. I started to do cartwheels in the front yard. I mentioned before, I had a dress on. My cabbage patch underwear kept showing. Probably looked like I shit my pants with all that fucking dirt in the truck. One crew member stopped his machine and started clapping. Oh good! An audience member. Cartwheel after cartwheel, until I was light headed on the front lawn of a stranger’s house. The owner of the house suddenly came out. She probably was looking out her window and wondering “what the fuck” is? She invited us in for lemonade. I sat on her island barstool. She was asking Andy and I questions. Something like “Where is your mom?”… My dad walked into the kitchen and the lady wanted to take our picture in front of her house.
We all beamed like it was the best day of our lives.
Somehow, through old school communication…our dog got out and had to pick up him up somewhere on this day. His name was Luke and had burrs all over him. Again, my dad put him in the back of the truck and we were bouncing around like a bunch of little assholes. How the hell did we not get pulled over? I guess we are lucky no one fell out of the truck.
We finally got home from the day and my mom was there waiting…
Mom: “What did you do today?”
Me: “We went to White Hen.”
Mom: “What did you get there?”
Me: “A coke and some peanuts.”
Mom: “That sounds nice…” She would be so fucking pisst if we went to Otto’s. She told my brothers and I, if we were ever in Otto’s to let her know right away. Sure, but we went to White Hen and not Otto’s.
Well later that month…
We were driving past Otto’s.
Me: “Oh look, mom there’s White Hen.” Her eyes bulged out of her head.
Mom: “That’s not White Hen, Christine.”
Me: “Yes it is. Dad said that’s White Hen.”
Mom: “Christine, that is Otto’s.”
Me: “What?! It is?” My little brain shocked.
Mom: “Yes, has your dad been taking you to Otto’s?”
Me: “I’m not allowed there.” Holy Fucking Shit.
Mom: “I know, I’m gonna kill him.”
Fuck, so I blew my dad’s cover. My mom even started teaching us how to use the pay phone to call our home phone number if dad took us there. My dad always bending the rules with my mom…he’s the fucking funniest.
One last thought, Pay Phones need to make a comeback and I should open a bar and call it White Hen. Cheers.