Fleeting Fame

The closest you’ve ever come to fame was…

Back when my oldest son was young I spent some time in Texas checking out opportunities and seeing if possibly we could make a better life down there. On the way to San Antonio, I stopped in Ft. Stockton, Texas. When I stopped I was dead broke. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to cut it down in Texas and I was hungry.

There’s a truck stop cafe in Ft. Stockton right off the highway so I stopped there to rest and see if I could scrounge together enough for something small to eat. I had enough for something small so I went in and ordered.

Let me just say that the people in Ft. Stockton are the sweetest people on the planet. As I was ordering my food I started chatting with the waitress about why I was in Texas and what my plans were. During our conversation I started counting out what little cash I had and this caught her eye.

What are you doing hun?

I’m just making sure I have enough to cover what I ordered ma’am.

Is that all you have?

Yes ma’am. Things are kind of tight until I get to San Antonio and start the job I have lined up.

She looked at me like a worried mother and said,

I’ll be right back.

She came back with a huge plate of food that I knew I couldn’t pay for.

Here you go hun. On the house.

As my eyes filled with tears I managed to utter,

I can’t let you do that. I need to pay for my food.

You can and you will darlin’. You need to eat.

I really didn’t want her to make it “on the house” as I knew that she was the one paying for the meal and that to me just wasn’t right, it wasn’t her responsibility.

Can I at least pay for it by helping around here for a bit? Maybe clear tables or wash dishes?

She wasn’t having any of it but she did ask me if I had any talents. I smiled and replied,

I can sing.

Then there you go. If you feel like you need to pay for the food, you can sing for your supper.

I looked at her like she had lost her mind. She smiled back with a kind look and let me know that she was serious. And so I sang with all I had to give.

After I finished singing and turning beat red, the patrons of the cafe let out applause that I honestly wasn’t expecting. I had to admit that it felt good to sing for people. My waitress stood there looking at me with her mouth open and didn’t speak for a minute.

Was that okay?

Was that okay? Of course it was!

As she said those words, she slide a napkin in front of me and handed me a pen.

Can you sign this?

I gave her yet another odd look but reached for the napkin.

Sign it?

Yes please. I want you to sign it so I can hang it over there on the wall.

She pointed to a wall that had pictures of country artists hanging on it. Real country artists hanging on it.

I want to be able to say that I knew you when.

And with that she told me to eat, which I did. The food that I ate that day was the best food I had the entire time I was in Texas. The memories I made at that cafe will be with me forever.

For a brief moment in time, I was famous.

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