I always had enough to eat. Thankfully, that was never a problem in our family. I remember my mom was able to buy groceries, and also come back with a treat like a bag of Hershey’s mini bars or Cheetos. We never went out to eat unless it was fast food. Boy, I really loved going to McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or A&W Root Beer. I think food at those places was better back then. I didn’t go to a real sit down restaurant until my junior year of high school, when my big sister took me out because she told my parents I needed the life experience. I remember being at that restaurant at the Burlington Mall in Massachusetts and having no idea how to behave.
When I was little, I didn’t know the difference between rich and poor. But even around 3 or 4 years old, I knew our car was a problem for us. I remember in those early years, watching my dad change the oil in the car. He seemed to check and change the oil a lot. I would be scared seeing him in his wifebeater t-shirt and shorts in the driveway. The muscles in his arms and his hairy armpits frightened me. He always seemed to be in a bad mood when he was working with the car.
We had two front hoods to our car, and neither of them matched the body of our huge old Ford. Depending on the weather, my dad would have to switch out the hood of the car or else the hood wouldn’t latch shut. In hot weather, one hood would fit the car and in cold weather, the other hood fit. I may have only been 3 or 4 years old, but I still noticed that ours was the only car in the church parking lot that was rusty and the hood didn’t match. Back then, I didn’t know what money was or that it took money to buy stuff. But seeing our car and the other cars at church was the beginning of me feeling ashamed.
My dad wasn’t perfect. He did what he could, and he got his family to church. My dad is a hero.
Here is some sheep in Virginia, where we lived when we had that old Ford.