Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Colorful Candy Necklace

I had a thought; a memory the other day about some childhood trips to the liquor store. These were the good ol days... I remember waking up on a few wonderful Saturday mornings. I could smell the pancakes cooking in the kitchen and noises coming from the den, which was typically my father working on something or listening to his 8 track player. As I said, this is way back when; the good ol days. I’d eat breakfast, watch the Jackson Five cartoon and then later on I would be checking out Soultrain. Back then, Soultrain was the best thing on TV with real soul sistas and brothas, afros, velvet looking pants, mini-skirts, bell bottoms and that afro-comb that came in a pouch. I had one of those. My mother ordered it for me from the commercial that came on during Soultrain. The pouch had a large peace sign on it and the comb had a fist at the end. I wish I still had it. I lost it somewhere along the way and my cream colored “apple cap” that I used to wear.

Anyway, after Soultrain was over, I somehow would get the urge to walk from our house on Carmona Avenue to this liquor store around the corner about a block from Rodeo Road. I would go to this liquor store because they sold these colorful candy necklaces that I could both suck on and wear as a fashion piece.. One Saturday the guy behind the counter thought I was trying to steal something. I had turned my back towards him and was digging in my pocket. I didn’t realize it until much later how my actions translated into something potentially wrong. The man said “hey!” and I turned around still holding the necklace in one hand and digging in my pocket with the other, trying to pull out a large wad of pennies. Once I did, the man breathed a sigh of relief and started laughing. He could see the innocence written clearly on my very young face because I wasn't really startled by his assumption. I simply and honestly was trying to pull the money out of my tight pocket. I was clueless but I did have exactly the right amount of pennies collected from the previous days, contemplating that moment when I’d proudly buy my colorful candy necklace.

Another time I went to the liquor store, I remember seeing a woman drop her purse and wallet. A bunch of money flew out. She picked up everything except for a five dollar bill that was slightly underneath a nearby car. I didn’t say anything. I just stared at the money but for some strange reason I was afraid to pick it up. The car had driven away and the five dollar bill laid there, uncovered, edges sticking up and I guess in a way, staring right back at me. If it had a voice it would probably say, “well, aren’t you gonna pick me up?” I probably would’ve shrugged in response but instead, I just looked at it. Then some guy came by. Looked like an older teenager. He looked at the direction of my eyes and noticed that five dollar bill too. The grin on his face slowly developed. He didn’t hesitate to pick up the money, in fact he snatched it off the ground and disappeared just as quickly. I bought my colorful candy necklace with my pennies and for some reason after that, I don’t remember ever returning to the liquor store to buy another… That little adventure had ended for me in a way as if the excitement had gone away and I didn't need that any more…

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