I have written that I have a side job at a grocery store. My department manager called me over yesterday. I admire this woman...and as bosses go - I think she is very good. She's this little fire-plug-shaped woman who reminded me, at first, of a grocery store version of 'the godfather". One of the first things that people told me about her-and later I heard her say..."you're good to me, I'll take care of you". hahahahaha. My life's own Don Corleone. So she calls me over yesterday... and says something I initially found a bit shocking. "McKenna...when does school start?" And instantly I thought...the date of my daughter's college...but why would she ask THAT? (BTW..my daughter ALSO works at the grocery store-but in a different department. --Pssssst I think the Corleone-connection GOT her the job in the deli.) Then I realized she was asked MY beginning date. And a wave of embarrassment came over me. What date would I even GIVE???? ..Thinking back to it...I think my shoulders probably dropped. (As I type this.. my eyes are welling up. It's funny. I guess Don Corelone actually IS the closest person I have to an actting parent. And this discussion was akin to a parent sitting one down and sweetly saying... "the games over, eh?") I stood before her... an employee-but also a child who has missed hitting her own target. She went on.. "will you be subbing then?" Well, yes...but I AM still looking for full time employment for the fall. "Sure...sure you are. You always have to keep that up. But if not, you'll be subbing?" yes (sadly) "Well... I was wondering... they call you in the mornings for that, eh? But then, there is a point when you know..if they haven't called..you're FREE for the day, right?" yes...usually by 9 am I know I'm not working. "And.. if you are free, that's a day without...but should you, perhaps (lingers)..." CALL in after 9am....(I can't believe this woman uses the cloze technique better than most teachers! And funnier still-that i fall right into the student role.) "...I mean, after all, it IS (lingers)..." a paycheck "I KNOW that...." that I need the money to support my home and family. yes, I do. "so what I'm SAYING is......" yes. and THANK you. "yes..there's a future here waiting, you know." yes. and I DO appreciate this...thank you. "just so we understand each other" we do. thank you very much. "no problem.. I take care of my own." And with a knowing nod of her head, I was dismissed from Don Corelone's presense. (Come to think of it... I might have bowed slightly and backed away... for goodness sake, can't believe that.) I know that I could move up in the company. That does (some-what) give a sense of assurance. (but my inner-teacher weeps.) Epilogue: A few hours later (a few minutes before my 6 hour shift is done-and I was SO looking forward to walking out the door on a hot summer Saturday) she comes up. And with her attitude of...*I'm nicely TELLING you - not ASKING you*... she says, "McKenna...seems your replacement is going to be 2 hours late." You're kidding (semi-laughing) "No...no, I'm not. So that's ok by you, huh? I mean you'd like to keep working, right? Don Corleone has set me out on a "hit" right as I am about to enjoy a spaghetti dinner dat Mama has prepared. "sure...sure that's ok" *sigh* the life of a mafia underling. You know the boss is watching out for you...but that it's gonna cost ya down the road through indentured servitude.