Every year my wife Janet and I try to take off and go somewhere just to get away. Sometimes we just start drivin’ just to see where the road takes us, and then sometimes we pick a spot we haven’t ever been and visit for a while.
We hardly ever go back to someplace we’ve already been, at least not on our vacation. Oh, now we might head off to someplace like Galveston or somethin’ a couple of times a year, but that’s more of a weekend get-a-way than a vacation.
But sometimes we go to a place and wished we could spent more time there, and so, in a few years we’ll do it all over, just so we can do some stuff that we didn’t get to do, the last time we did stuff there.
Anywho, that’s what we did this year. About 10 or 11 years ago we had gone out to San Francisco. Now I know what you’re thinkin’. You’re thinkin’, “What in the world would a redneck like Rusty be doin’ in a place like San Francisco?”
Well, I’ll tell you.
You see, Janet likes to go to places where there is somethin’ to do. I like to go to places where there are good places to eat. Well San Francisco has both. The last time we went, we were only there for a couple of days, and Janet didn’t really have time to see a lot, and I didn’t have time to eat a lot, so we decided to go back and stay a little longer.
Now I don’t know whether you’ve ever been to San Francisco or not, but let me tell you somethin’ just in case you’re thinkin’ about goin’. Take along a wheelbarrow or two of money. Pardon my grammar, but there ain’t nothin’ cheap out in San Francisco. Nothin’.
Also, take a coat, and just maybe a pair of long handles (that’s long underwear for you Yankees out there).
It’s cold. When we left Texas it was 93 degrees. When we landed in San Francisco it was 57 degrees. I had stuff drawin’ up and pokin’ out all over my body.
Well bein’ a natural born Texan, and a country boy, I always go prepared. I had checked the weather reports before I left and packed some extra clothes and a jacket. Janet did too.
Now, I’m goin’ to tell you about the jacket I packed because it played a big part in what happened that I’m fixin’ to tell you about. I have this old -- and I mean old-- travel jacket. It’s an old canvas sport coat lookin’ jacket that has about a million pockets.
It has leather patches on the elbows, leather trim on the end of the sleeves, and a slightly frayed collar. I love this jacket. Janet does not love this jacket.
I’m the first to admit that it is not what you would call pleasin’ to the eye, but it is just so blame comfortable.
Now, I’ll tell you what happened.
I’m an early riser; always have been. I guess that was because my daddy was an early riser, and a lot of times I had to get up with him to go to work. My daddy was my first employer, you know.
We had to get up early to go out to the farm and mess with the cows and such. Anywho, the first mornin’ after we arrived in San Francisco, I woke up pretty early for California time. It was 5 o’clock their time and I was wide awake. Well, I got up and as quietly as possible, I dressed and snuck out of our hotel so as to not wake Janet.
I was in search of coffee. Strong coffee. I walked around for awhile, and spotted a coffee shop in the corner of an old building. I had to weave through some people sleepin’ on the sidewalks to get to it.
Anywho, I walked into the coffee shop. This wasn’t any old nasty coffee shop. Oh no, this was one of those fancy, foo foo coffee shops. I noticed the counter people lookin’ me over and glancin’ at each other. When I looked back at them, they turned their eyes away from me.
I looked at my reflection in the window and I even did a double take. I had put on an old pair of jeans, an old T-shirt, that old canvas jacket, and my Mount Sylvan Coffee House cap that was made to look distressed from the factory.
Oh yeah, I also had on my walkin’ shoes which are an old pair of Chuck Taylors with flames painted on the sides. Janet had bought these for me a few years ago, so when I rode my motorcycle, the flames on the shoes made me look like I was goin’ fast.
I walked up to the counter and I ordered a double espresso. The lady smiled at me like you do when you’re fixin’ to talk to a little bitty kid.
“Do you have any money?” she asked. I just looked at the lady.
“Yes ma’am,” I answered.
“May I see it?” she asked.
“See what?” I asked.
“Your money,” she replied.
Now, I know a lot of people might have gotten offended at this, but I thought I might as well have some fun. I had a five dollar bill in my hand, so I wadded it up so she couldn’t see it.
“Well,” I said. “It’s in my sock.”
“Your sock?” she questioned.
“Yeah, I keep it there ‘cause there’s a lot of unsavory people around. Here, let me get it.”
I bent down and started untyin’ my shoe and then looked up at her. “You keep an eye out.” I said. “I don’t want nobody seein’ where I stash my cash.”
I then pulled off my shoe and handed it to her. “Here, hold this for me. I don’t want nobody runnin’ off wiff my shoe.”
“Uh, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” she said, as she stepped back.
“It ain’t gonna bite,” I said. She still refused to take it.
I shrugged and stuck it under my arm and then pulled off my sock. Then I pulled my shoe out from under my arm and stuck it between my legs. I grabbed my sock with my left hand and crammed my right hand, which held the wadded up five, into the sock and started wallerin’ it around.
“I know it’s in there somewhere,” I said. “Ah, there it is,” and I pulled my hand out and looked in it. “Nope,” I said. “That’s a bunion pad,” and I crammed my hand back in.
Durin’ this time I had been waddin’ the five tighter and tighter. I looked at her and smiled.
“Found it!” I exclaimed.
I pulled my hand out and opened it. There in my hand was a little crunched up paper ball. I held it out to the girl in my open hand. I wish you could have seen the look of disgust on her face. One little corner of the bill was stickin’ out and she used her fingernails to get a hold of it. She shook it for a minute tryin’ to make it open up. She looked like she might throw up at anytime.
“Sorry if it’s wet,” I said. “My feets sweat a lot.” She dropped it on the counter like it was toxic.
About that time my cell phone rang. I reached into my pocket to get it. The look on the girls face was priceless. I could just imagine what she was thinkin’. “How does a guy like this afford a cell phone?”
“Yellow,” I said into the phone.” It was Janet.
“I’m up, “Janet said. “Where are you?”
“I’m at a coffee shop,” I said just loud enough so the coffee girl could hear me. “Tell the board members I won’t be able to attend the meeting this morning. I’ve got a 9 o’clock tee time and then I’ve got to fly to LA for dinner with the mayor and his wife. Reschedule for tomorrow. “
“What?” Janet said. “Are you having a stroke or something?”
“No,” I relied. “I’ll take the Gulf Stream. Tell the crew to be ready to take off at 4.”
“You’re an idiot,” Janet said. “Now get back here. I’m hungry.”
“I love you, too,” I said. “Oh yeah, call my wife and tell her I won’t be home until late.” Janet said somethin’ unlady like and hung up.
I looked at the girl and she was lookin’ at me wide-eyed and her mouth was hangin’ open. Then slowly, her eyes began to narrow until they had become just little slits. Her mouth pinched up and her nostrils started flarin’.
“What?” I smiled. “Did I not give you enough money? I’ve got some more in my other sock.”
Don’t you just love messin’ with people?