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Loaf Bread 'n Luck
By: Wayne Brown
It was a Monday morning. I had a business meeting with a customer 90 miles away in less than two hours. Things weren’t going well to say the least. The house was in chaos with the rituals of the morning get ready and the last minute packing of a bag. It seemed the more I tried to do to get out of there and on my way, the more it complicated my ability to get out of there at all. Every way I turned, there was something else that seemingly was an obstacle to my progress. All my rushing and scurrying around was unnerving my wife, who was already unhappy with me heading out on yet another business trip and leaving her to run the place alone and deal with our youngster at the same time.
My recent career shift and over-involvement with the new job, the travel, or life in general for that matter were a bit too much for her. She was nipping at my tail-feathers heavily on this crazy morning. Finally I head for the door, bag in hand, pointing out that I was running late, very late. Then my wife made the request that initially seemed an opportunity to make things better before I blasted off down the road for another town. She said, “We are out of bread. The least you could do is get some bread for us before you go.” Yes, bread, a peace offering, an opportunity to clear some of the chaos and maybe smoke a bit on the peace-pipe. Oh yes, if I have to give up a bit of time for a loaf of bread in the interest of world peace, I would do it, but, I would have to hurry.
I quickly ran to the garage, threw my bags in the Pontiac and roared out of the driveway in the direction of the convenience store on the corner a couple of blocks up the road. Traffic was heavy with folks headed out to work. I caught the light on red as Karma once again reminded me that she was not working with me today. Finally, I get to the little store, locate a parking spot and run inside in search of that loaf of bread. A couple of turns around the aisle and there it sets waiting for me on the top shelf. Grabbing a loaf, I rushed to the front to pay up and get out. There is only one cashier and a multiple of customers. Someone is having problems getting the gas pump to run and he’s yelling his frustrations through the speaker at the cashier who appears to understand any language but English. The next guy in line has a carton of milk that he looks like he wants to return, and the third customer has enough stuff to make one think he is laying in supplies for a long winter. Looks like I am behind all of them…damn! Just my luck!
At this point, I am starting to fidget a bit constantly glancing at my watch to see what time it is now after just looking at it two seconds before. It should be just two seconds later but it is not, it's ten minutes later...time is blasting by and I am just here in a line that is not moving. I need to go, man! Don’t you see that I need to go? Finally, the pump is going and now we are working on getting a soured carton of milk returned. The clerk is arguing with the guy. I am tempted to go give him back his money right out of my pocket just to move things along. Oh, man, I need to go. I don’t have time for all this today!
Just as I am considering abandoning the loaf of bread right there on the floor and heading out to another store, things start moving. The guy with the soured milk is getting his money off the counter and the cashier is ringing up the stuff for the last guy ahead of me. I dance a bit with anticipation like a kid about to get his first pony ride. I am fidgeting like a widow woman with a bad bladder. The closer I come to getting out of there, the more I fidget, look at my watch, and fidget. Yes! It’s officially my turn now. The cashier rings up the purchase, I pay, grab the loaf of bread and run for the car like a would-be-thief departing the scene of his crime.
Once I am back in the car, my urgency to get the bread back home only multiples. I quickly fire up the engine, throw the transmission into drive and leave a bit of rubber on the concrete getting back into the street to retrace my route back home. My luck is changing as I see that I am going to make the traffic signal with the green light on...Karma must be getting on board. I whiz through and quickly turn left into the neighborhood briskly pushing the Pontiac toward the house and the bread delivery. I will be so happy to get this loaf of bread in her hands and get on my way. Just thinking about it helps to relieve my fidgeting. I have to hurry! I am late! I am late, for a very important date! And nobody seems to give a damn!
Swinging the Pontiac into the driveway back at the house, I must have been drunk with the anticipation of completing my task and pleasing my wife before I departed the premises. As I hit the driveway, I opened the door, stepped out of the car, and headed toward the front door in a trot with the loaf of bread clutched in my hand. Three steps into my trek, the thought past through my mind that I had not completed a very important task. I had not stopped the car and placed the gear selector into park position as normally sane person would be prone to do. In my rush, somehow I had just stepped out. I threw the loaf of bread into the front yard and simultaneously turned around to head back to the Pontiac. Too late! I turned around just in time to see the nose of the Bonneville crash into the double garage door and keep going. I managed to climb into the driver’s seat, get a foot on the brake pedal and stop just as the door began to come loose from the track on the left side and fall back toward the inside of the garage. I paused for a moment, then put the transmission selector into the reverse position and backed out onto the driveway. Things were changing rapidly on this morning and not in my favor. Where was my little buddy, Karma?
For all the hurrying that I was doing, suddenly time seemed to stand still while I sat there in the seat and contemplated my new predicament. I first reminded myself that my bride was unhappy with me when I had departed to get the bread. Now, I had returned with the bread hoping to make peace only to run the car through the garage door. I understood it but I knew I would play hell explaining it. Now, even the suggestion of buying a bakery would not get me out of this doghouse. Yep…stupid is as stupid does and ol’ stupid was feeling pretty stupid at the moment.
I looked out in the front yard and saw the bread laying there in the grass with the morning sun shining on it,w aiting patiently for me to come back and get it. That loaf of bread and I had a lot in common. We shared a similar fate as I was pretty sure at this point that we were both toast. On the other hand, this bread was my only ally in this situation. We’d already come along way together. I had gone for bread and I was coming back with bread, just as I had promised…it was that simple.
Now, I’m no longer in a hurry. In fact, I had rather just sit right here on the driveway and stare ‘cause for all the places I needed to go, into the house is not my first choice right now. Mustering all my courage and trying to think of some logical explanation, I crawled out of the seat, headed into the front yard and retrieved the loaf of bread. By now, it was losing much of its original shape and was starting to look more like a football with no air in it. I am thinking that it looks like somebody had been squeezin' the Charmin a little too much. I figured I wasn't far from getting my own Charmin squeezed and squeezed too much I am sure. I shook the bag of bread around a bit trying to regain some of the shape as I stepped up on the porch, pulled out my keys, and prepared to unlock the front door and go to my doom.
Just as I placed the key near the lock, the door opened slightly, maybe an inch, then my wife’s right eye peered through the small crack. I immediately opened my mouth to speak, to begin spilling my guts and get it out, get it over, be done with it and let her get on with highlighting my stupidity. Before I could get a word out, she quickly raised a finger to her lips and motioned for me to be quiet. Again, I tried to speak only to have her shush me through the crack in the door. Finally, I whisper to her,” What’s going on? What is it”? She quickly whispers back, “There’s someone in the garage, I heard them turn something over out there!”
Oh, Jesus! There is a God! Here I stood before my wife with a busted loaf of bread ready to admit my stupidity and take my licks and out of nowhere my prayers are answered in a heartbeat. I quickly recovered from my surprise and said, “Don’t worry, Hon…I ran him off but I had to run the car into the garage door to do it. She breathed a sigh of relief as she cooed, “Well, I sure glad you’re not hurt!” Suddenly, it seemed like my luck had turned and the day just might go my way. Yep, this was lookin’ like the start of a very good day. Maybe the best day since sliced bread. I felt like making a sandwich! Maybe I'd make Karma one too!