The Feed Store

After a relatively cool start to the summer, the heat and the humidity are on the rise here in Kentucky. And along with the rising of the temperatures, this time of year always brings to my mind memories which are not altogether pleasant. Have you ever noticed the various times of the year bring to mind the memories associated with them more vividly and poignantly than any of the other senses we possess? True a song, a smell, a food can all flood our minds with a memory, but there is just something about a specific time of year which can transport us back in time and cause us to recall a memory with such clarity and detail it's as if it had happened but yesterday with no passing of time in between.

Several years before I met Jackie, the owner's of a local feed and western store had been after me to come and work for them. The store carried everything from stock feed, fertilizer, hardware, pasture seed to boots, western clothing, hats and antiques. Since I had experience in all things farm and western they thought I would be a good fit working with the diversity of the goods they offered their customers. While outwardly I had a difficult time making an argument as to why I kept turning down their offers, however inwardly there was just a "little voice" which kept telling me the situation was one I needed to avoid. Finally in the late spring of that year I succumbed to the pressure of friends and the owners and accepted their offer and went to work for them.

The first couple of weeks were not all that bad and actually I did enjoy working with the customers as well as the diversity of knowledge for which the position called. However all to quickly things began to change as the duties originally outlined began to blossom and bloom faster than I could keep up. In no time I was not only assisting with outfitting customers with clothing, hats and jewelry I was ordering and sorting chickens, ducks, turkeys and bunnies. Additionally I was helping gardeners and farmers with everything farm related, loaded bags of feed and fertilizer as well as keeping up with my office paperwork. I literally ran from the moment I clocked in to the moment I clocked out.

Then summer started and the owner's college aged son came to work at the store during his break, bringing with him the daughter of a life long family friend who would also be working in the office. Almost overnight the choicest of my duties were distributed to the teenage "workers" half my age, while I was privileged to keep the duties which required heavy lifting, dust, cleaning and working outside in 100 degree temperatures. The whole work place dynamic had changed in the short period of time in which the new work force had arrived. No longer trusted to do what needed to be done when it needed to be done, I was delegated a list of duties to complete each day and instructed to report for additional duties when I had crossed all of my list. On days when it suited none of the youngsters to show up for work, I was promoted back to my original position.

And then one very hot June afternoon things all came to a screeching halt and I reached my last straw! After lunch I was assigned to go outside where the straw, hay and fertilizer were kept in back of the store and to sweep up all the loose debris and reorganize the area. The area was in full sun with absolutely no shade and the temperature was 100 degrees. After receiving my instructions, I looked around the office and saw all the teenagers sitting at the desks basking in the comfort of the air conditioning looking at me with smirks on their faces. I didn't know what I wanted to do more, scream or throw up. Needing the job, I did neither but rather turned around and muttered some very unlady like things under my breath.

Once outside I picked up my broom and commenced undertaking the task at hand and sinking deep into thought. It only took about fifteen minutes for my clothes to become soaking wet and I knew if I stayed out there much longer I would fall victim to the heat. I sat down on a bale of straw and thought about my next move. I knew what I wanted to do. I stood up, took a deep breath and prayed that God would be with me and put the right words in my mouth. I walked thru the store and into the owner's office where once again all the teenagers were still sitting doing nothing. I asked him if that was all he had for me to do and he said it was. I said I was done for the day and was going home to which he advised me such action would be at the expense of my job. I said that would be alright then I turned and walked away.

He came after me and there was much back and forth banter before I got in my truck and left. His wife called me several times trying her best to convince me what a foolish mistake I had made leaving their employ. But me, well I had a peace about it. I knew something else would come along and it did and it paid much better. More importantly it was the catalyst God used to bring Jackie and me together. There are many things God tells us in the Bible as to how we should engage our enemies to be the better person; however nowhere does He tell us we should allow ourselves to be a doormat for someone who has no regard for our well being. Oh, and it is never a good idea to underestimate a God loving cowgirl!

Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.