It’s raining cats and dogs, thought 15-year-old Madison McKinsey. At least it’s summer and warm out, not the cold of January. The summer rains in Florida usually last for 20 minutes or so. Today was going to be different—we have a tropical disturbance in the Gulf and it should be raining the rest of the week.
I have a younger brother who’s three years younger than me, and a mom and a dad. We have no pets like a dog or cat or hamsters. But my brother, Jared, has two snakes that are kept in aquariums. He and I are tight as thieves and would do anything for the other.
We moved here two years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dad worked with Honeywell for 15 years, but lost his job there. Government contracts were down, so the company downsized. He found a job after one year in the town of his birth: Winter Haven, Florida. I’m so grateful he has a job. WOOT! He’s been working as an assistant principal at Winter Haven high school (WHHS). He’s also the coach of the boy’s and girl’s tennis teams. Dad and I are pretty close when he’s around. Because of his job, he’s gone much of the time. Dad loves to exercise and is disciplined about it. One of his favorite hobbies is collecting precious gems and stones. Once he has the stones, he polishes them. He had a dresser bureau filled with collections separated by drawers.
My mom is five years younger than my dad. Most people would call her sexy, with long legs and red hair. It’s
hard for me to see her as ‘sexy’. She’s a stay at home mom, makes all our meals and after school treats. Mom’s favorite child is my brother, Jared. Relatives tell me that she loves me too, but it is so clearly evident that the sun rises and sets on top of his little head. Ugh. Anyway, she’s very religious and strict. She reads a lot, sews and gardens.
I’m getting ready to hop on the wet golf cart and start my paper route. I have 50 customers in a gated community. I started out with 35 customers and have grown my business over the last 7 months. I’ve been saving my money and hope to have a new used customized golf cart in another month. It’s a rather easy job to deliver the papers 7 days a week and to collect monies once a month from all the customers. The papers are delivered to my house. Usually, three times a week, I have to stuff the paper with inserts before I band/bag the papers to deliver. Mom and dad let me use their golf cart to deliver the papers.
It’s a pain to drive the golf cart in the rain and deliver them. Halfway through the route today the rain slowed to a drizzle. I’ll have to take a shower when I return home. Both my right and left arms are pretty strong from aiming and throwing the papers to the doorstep from the road. Haven’t broken a front glass window yet. However, I’ve had to replace papers when I threw them in a puddle of water by mistake. Mondays through Fridays, I deliver the papers in the afternoon. Saturdays and Sundays, I deliver them in the early morning.
Last week, the New Moon Rising Gated Community enforced the new law that all homes had to have cylindrical rounds attached to their mailboxes for all newspapers to be placed. One had to have a cylindrical round whether you currently received a newspaper or not.
New Moon Rising Companies provided generic cylindrical rounds, but they offered other choices and of course, people in the community wanted their special cylindrical round. It sure made delivering papers easier for me. Just drive the golf cart to the cylindrical round, place the paper in and on to the next customer. My left and right arm won’t be building any more muscles since I won’t be throwing the papers any longer.
It usually takes me 45 minutes to deliver them all. The 15 minutes of prep work that I need to do before I start delivering makes the job take an hour a day. The battery to the golf cart was connected today, so all I had to do was disconnect the cables. There’s a front window to the cart, but nothing on the sides or back of it. The rain is free to come in at every angle. Because of the rain today, all the papers are in bags.
I placed my MP3 player at the front of the golf cart on the left side so I can jam as I deliver the papers. The player hangs on one of those command hooks that I put there months ago. My Droid is placed in the front part of the cart where golf balls are to go if you’re playing golf.
Part of my wardrobe is wearing a baseball cap when delivering papers. I have a collection of about 100 different caps, all with different logos. I usually wear an Atlanta Braves baseball cap to keep my hair from blowing. When it’s raining, the cap keeps the pounding drops off the top of my head. Being in the rain without a baseball cap or another hat is very aggravating as I can’t stand to feel the raindrops on my head. I must admit that it’s not feminine to be wearing a cap all the time but I feel very comfortable wearing one. My mother thinks it’s not proper for a lady to be wearing a baseball cap. To complete my wardrobe, I wear my capris jeans, tank top or
T-shirt and my dock siders or flip-flops. I’m very particular about my flip-flops. They’re the kind that you slip your feet in without having that center thong between your big toe and the next toe.
Because it’s hot out, I usually carry a Coke with me for the ride. I would like to think the reason is because it’s hot out, but the truth is, I love to drink Coke; it’s so refreshing and sweet. Of course, the ride wouldn’t be complete without some sour apple Dubble Bubble gum.
Besides getting drenched today, I only had to deliver 45 papers. Five of my customers were on vacation. My memory is pretty good about remembering dates and phone numbers. The dates for when my customers go on vacation are stored in my Droid calendar. That’s checked before I do my prep work for the day and before I drive the golf cart out of my driveway. Sometimes, I deliver the extra papers to homes that don’t subscribe. I’ve picked up customers that way once they’ve read a few free papers.
Now, whom will I select to deliver free papers to today? A new family moved into a home on Oleander Street. Their home was three stories, had a large pool in back and the house had been vacant ever since I had the route. Hadn’t met the family yet, but I’ll deliver my first free paper to them. Their cylindrical round was custom made. When I placed the paper inside the round, calmness took over my body. Harp music played in my mind, peacefully outplaying my MP3 player. My hand was then touched by another hand. I pulled my hand back and I shook all over. I looked into the cylindrical round; there was nobody and no hand inside, just the paper I’d just placed. This was not right. What had happened? With pure courage, I placed my left hand in again. The calmness took over, the harp music was playing and my left hand was touched by another. I quickly
pulled my hand out of the round. What was happening? I just shook my head, my arms and my whole being. Guess I’ve been in the rain too long today.
The next house I chose was the Remington’s. They had three children and their dad worked with mine at the high school. I placed a free newspaper in the generic cylindrical round. No harp playing music or calmness or hand touching mine. I must just have imagined it at the last house.
Two houses down from the Remington’s on Oleander Drive would be where I delivered the third free paper. No unusual occurrences there. The other two free newspapers I delivered were at the end of Oleander. Both of their cylindrical rounds were custom made as well, one in the shape of a Florida Gator and one in the shape of a pelican. My hand remained untouched in both of them. No more harp music, just Adele playing on my MP3. Okay, now I can deliver the rest of my route and head home. Soon, that experience would fade away.
Once I got home, I connected the cables to the golf cart. Then I took off my wet windbreaker and my soaked Atlanta Braves cap, went into the house and headed straight for the bathroom where I took a nice, hot shower. Oh, the hot water felt good on my body. I toweled off and put on another pair of caprice jeans and red T-shirt. Then I realized I’d left my Droid and my MP3 player in the golf cart. I went to go get both and bring them in the house. I’d received five text messages while I showered. I responded to all and then had to rush to set the table for dinner.
Jared and I are supposed to go fishing in the morning. Can’t wait. Last time we went fishing, he beat me with four fish to my two. Even though I didn’t catch as many as he did, I did have the biggest fish, a bass, weighing in at 1
pounds. My aunt lives down the road from us and has a jonboat with a trolling motor. She lets us use it any time we want. We have to care for it and promise to wear our life jackets. We bring the tackle, bait and our great dispositions.