Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another post created for our Writing Group.  I hope you like it.

The clock radio clicked on as the local Top Forty DJ announced the time.

“It’s six o’clock.  Get up and at em sleepy heads.  Time to get ready for work!  Another Day another dollar.  It won’t happen if you don’t get goin!”

Hearing the cacophony, Jimmy was instantly awake.  This was no ordinary day!  It was Monday.  THE  MONDAY!   He had been preparing for this day since Kindergarten.  Today his adult life took a new direction, one that would shape his future.

Hearing his mother in the kitchen preparing breakfast, the memories of high school came flooding back.  The last six years away in college at Notre Dame and then at Villanova in graduate school, studying business seemed to instantly fade away, shrinking into insignificance as the aroma of bacon, eggs and toast drifted through the door into his old room.

Looking at the familiar surroundings, he could see his mother had kept everything just the way it looked the day he left.  It had never been part of his plan to return and live at home, but his old room gave him a feeling of comfort and stability considering the challenge that lay before him.

His father sat him down in the living room the night before while his mother washed and dried the dishes and for the hundredth time, gave him the “speech”.  Thinking back, the first time he remembered hearing it was when he was in the fourth grade.

Jimmy was pretty certain the words had never changed.  “Son, you know, you have the opportunities in life that I never had.  You can go as far as you want to be successful and your mother and I have tried to make sure you have had every chance to succeed.  We hope you take advantage of your education and make the best of it.  You need to study hard and make something of yourself.  There are no limits to what you can achieve in America.”

His father, an immigrant with only a high school education, worked hard all his life after coming to America, saving and going without so Jimmy could go to college and have a better life than he had.  “This was the land of opportunity”, he told him. “You can even become President of The United States if you set your mind to it.”

Now the day had finally arrived, fresh out of graduate school with his Master’s Degree in hand and ready to take on the world.  Living with his parents was a temporary but necessary stop on his journey to success.  His father had paid for all of his college and grad school.  He knew he was a very lucky guy.  Most of his friends were burdened with student loans and years of debt.  Not Jimmy, he had listened to his father and now all those years of studying and prepping for the SAT tests had paid off and allowed him to get into a great university.  He had even qualified for a partial academic scholarship to help offset some of the expense to his parents.

After a quick shower, Jimmy shaved taking care there would be no cuts or missed spots and afterwards he checked carefully in the mirror just to be sure.  Then, combing his slightly unruly hair, he took an extra step and applied some of his mother’s unscented hairspray to help keep it under control. He also took particular care in choosing his wardrobe.  It was his first day of work in the real world and he knew the impression he made would be important.  Finally satisfied with the person staring back at him from the mirror, he could hear his mother coming to the bottom of the stairs.

“Breakfast is ready dear.  Don’t dawdle now.  You need to give yourself time to let it digest before you get to work.  You don’t want your stomach to growl and embarrass you, do you?”

“Okay Mom, be right down.”  He knew his father had already left for work and his mother was making a special breakfast just for him.

Sitting at the table, he could see the pride in her eyes.  Her son was a man today.  She prepared the eggs, toast and bacon just the way he liked them along with home fried potatoes and fresh squeezed juice.  It was her way of showing him her love and support.  His mother had always been there for him.

Finishing the feast, he ran back upstairs to floss and brush his teeth one more time before leaving.  His mother was waiting at the door with a smile on her face that stretched from one ear to the other when he came downstairs.  She hugged and kissed him.

“I am so proud of you.  Your father and I could not have wished for a better son.  You have always worked hard to live up to your potential and I know you will be a success.”

Seeing the tears welling up in her eyes, he quickly said, “I love you Mom”, gave her a hug and a kiss and rushed out the door before either of them started crying.

The bus stop was full of people, but he felt confident and unafraid as he boarded the Number Seven and searched for an empty seat towards the rear.  Finding an open row, he flopped down and let out a sigh of relief.  The tension would soon be over.

The ride was short.  Soon, from his window seat, he could see the newest corporate location of his employer as the bus neared his stop.  The facility had just opened and it was not far from his parent’s house.  Walking from the bus stop, he admired the shiny new building.  This was where his new career was about to begin and he could not shake the feeling it would change his life.  Entering the door marked “Employees Only”, he felt an instant sense of belonging.

Making his way down the hallway, he searched for the office where he had been instructed to report.  Finally, there it was, with the nameplate, George Wilkins, General Manager.  Hesitantly, he knocked and heard a voice beckon him inside.

“Good morning James.”

George Wilkins stood and offered his hand in greeting.

“Come in, sit down son.  Right on time I see.  Getting off to a good start.  Can’t tell you how happy we are to have you on board.  I hope you feel the same. The opportunities here are unlimited you know.  You can go as far as perseverance and hard work will take you.”
“Once you are through with the paperwork and Human Resources, I’ll show you around and introduce you to one of our seasoned veterans who will show you the ropes.  Let you ease into things and get you off on the right foot with your training program. We want to be sure you understand all your duties before we put you on the front line. Our customers expect the best from us you know.  Oh, before I forget, let me be the first to say, Welcome to McDonalds.”