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.
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.