Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Undecided

Chapter One

Inside his head, the past family memories continued their ceaseless wailing and screaming. Albert Law scanned the factory floor from his secondary story office window. He viewed the success of his business and his busy workers through his watery eyes. He stood between the floor to ceiling picture window and his plain metal office desk and saw his life achievement as an organic thing that he created that brought him pride and peace of mind. The success of his life stood out below him, providing the best jobs, largest paychecks, and family support in Calhoun County. Inside him, the screams and tortured wails would frighten the workers as if they all had been sent to the depths of hell.

The demons in his mine howled loudly some days, but today they were deafening. The security guards would pull their pistols as if ambushed from behind. The single men would cry for their mothers. The married men would fall down on their knees and pray. The women would begin to vomit in places where their shoes would later slip and slide. The two girls who fell found their jeans soaked up some of the mess would further add to the hysteria and hopelessness on the factory floor.

“My God, what, oh what; why, oh why did it have to turn out this way?” Albert wore the same uniform his employees wore but with one small change to indicate his position of President and Chief Executive Office. Everyone wore brown overalls, which the factory provided. The shirts were either blue or white, but only Albert wore the white shirt, not so much as to indicate rank, but in case some salesman came by, he wanted to be taken seriously. In Tennessee, the white shirt and overalls were worn to fancy events and had, over time, earned the honored name “Tennessee Tuxedo”.

Once a visiting salesman came to his office and they sat there with a couple of other people talking about the product plans and machinery specifications in the upstairs office with its simple furnishings. Simple furnishings, but substantial, old and likely to never wear out. The salesman sent out to get some sodas and while they drank the Cokes, the salesman commented that his grandfather had a blue Tennessee Tuxedo he wore to the Lilimay Church of Christ.

“What Tennessee Tuxedo?” Albert was confused; surely, the salesman wasn’t talking about the early television cartoon where Don Adams was the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo, the wisecracking penguin, with his dim-witted pal, Chumley.

“When I was a boy, and that was a long time ago. My grandfather would wear what he called his Tennessee Tuxedo.’

Albert listened to his story. The room was quiet.

The salesman told him how Grandma starched and ironed the white shirt on Saturday during his summer visits. She washed and dried the overalls, then hung them both up on the same wire hanger. As a boy, they’d ride in the old brown pick-up down River Road to Church every Sunday and never saw men dressed like that until he first met old Mr. Albert Law.

“The funny thing was the men wore their bib overalls over their Sunday cloths. The roads in those days were dirt roads and if it rained, they were mud roads. To keep from getting their church clothes dirty if the truck got stuck, they’d wear overalls on the way, then take them off when they got to church.”

They looked each other in the eyes, smiled, and nodded back and forth a small nod no one would have noticed; it was so slight, unless they were looking for it.

3 Praise:

Blogger Lisa, a true friend said...

I also read the summary, below, and i have to say i'm impressed! it looks great so far, lynn. keep up the momentum. :)

November 3, 2004 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Lynn, a true friend said...

Thanks Lisa, you're the greatest!

November 4, 2004 at 5:44 AM  
Blogger Reaganesque, a true friend said...

Hi! :)

November 10, 2004 at 4:16 AM  

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