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Monday, January 11, 2010

MIKE HUNT

When I was working at the Buick dealership in Midland back in the early eighties there was a receptionist/cashier there named DeAnn. At first I thought she was grumpy and bitchy. I would go back to cash a fifteen dollar check, which was my lunch money for the week and she would snap, “This is not a bank!” After a few weeks of hearing “This is not a bank.” “This is not a bank.” I decided I’d fix her. A friend of mine had one of those “Kitchen Witches” that was popular at the time and he gave it to me. It was just a homely little witch flying on a broom and you hung it in your kitchen for good luck. I attached a sign underneath it which read, “Our Cashier” and thumb tacked it over the sliding window in front of her desk. I figured she’d have a fit and take it down immediately, but to my surprise she loved it. We became close friends and she refused to allow anyone to take it down in all the years she worked there. She now lives in Fresno, but we still exchange Christmas cards, and she calls me every year on my birthday.

One winter morning around ten o’clock she called my office and asked, “Sam, have we had many people in the showroom today?” I said, “No, it’s been dead as hell, why?” “Well there’s been someone calling down here wanting me to page a customer over the PA system and I don’t like to do that I just don’t think it’s very professional.” “Who is it?” I asked. “Some guy named Michael Hunt. Do you know anyone by that name?” “No.” I said, “But I do have a couple of customers named Hunt, let me look.” As I flipped through my customer file I found the H’s. “No, I have a Frank and a Richard Hunt, but no Michael, but they are among about five brothers maybe he’s one of them.” “Have any of them been in today?” she asked. “No.” I said. “Well, will you let me know if you see them?” she asked. “Sure.” I said and hung up. We closed at 6:00PM and around five thirty each day I would go back in her office sit on the counter and talk to her as she counted her change drawer. She was real persnickety about that change drawer and wouldn’t allow another soul but me to be back there while she counted it. We’d catch up on the day’s gossip and just talk about whatever came to mind. While she was counting dimes the phone rang and she answered it. She placed them on hold and let out a long exasperated sigh as she threw the times back into their slot. “They’ve been calling here all damn day.” she said, as she stood up and slid the glass window back as far as it would go and leaned out and yelled across the service department. “Has anyone seen Mike Hunt?” Burst of laughter could be heard all over the shop. It was only then that I realized what they’d done. She was still leaning out the window when she yelled “Goddamnit!” Slammed the window and sat back down to count her dimes as she whimpered in frustration. I didn’t know what to say; I couldn’t laugh, I just said, “DeAnn, I swear I didn’t know anything about that. She said, “I know it, it took them all day to wear me down and they finally got me.” She was a pretty good sport about it, we all had to be around there because any one of us could be next for whatever practical joke of the day was. I laugh about that until this day and she and I still get a kick out of it.

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