Just had, while reading Jim Harrison's new novel "The Great Leader," a passage about the old man's childhood paper route, an odd set of thoughts.
They begin when I was in junior high school, living in Farmington, New Mexico. I had a paper route, The Albuquerque Journal, and the subscribers were in our subdivision and a neighboring one. I delivered the papers dutifully every day. But collecting for the paper wasn't as easy. I would go around to the houses with a little notebook the Journal provided, and when they paid would give the customer a little receipt. But sometimes they weren't home and one month would lead to another and soon they owed for three months or four or even six and I felt guilty myself and unable to ask for so much money. I knew kids near my age in a couple of the houses and that made things difficult as well, for whatever reason.
I ended up eating the bills of some of these; and in any case was constantly in a state of knowing the books didn't exactly add up, always to my disadvantage, since I had to pay the Journal representative exactly what was owed.
Then there was the summer I worked for W. C. Bacon and Son, a water-well-drilling company in Salt Lake. I worked all summer, and aside from the drillbit I lost in one well and the time the company's pickup seized up when I was driving it past the Cottonwood Mall, I did my job and earned the company money. But the Bacon son, who was running the company, was having a tough time and the last month's money wasn't immediately forthcoming. We left for New Jersey with the debt unpaid. I lived with that for about 6 months, when the check, at least most of it, came in the mail.
Ever since then I have the occasional dream, almost nightmare but not quite, that there are some type of loose ends out there, often from hard work of some sort or another, money still not paid.
And this is where you come in with your corn selling job. Any time you heard me asking about that, I was really asking about my own past.
So there it is.
Hope your finals went as you hoped.