When I was a little boy living in Colorado Springs I was in the grocery store with my mom. The lady at the cash register said to me, with great enthusiasm, “And what’s your name?”
I couldn’t pronounce my “r’s” so I said, “My name’s Muck.”
“Your name’s Muck?”
My mom recounts this story to this day. She also recounts a different one, also from the grocery store, probably the same grocery store, in which the cashier (who knows if it was the same one), looked at me sitting in the shopping cart and said, “I bet you love your mom.”
“I love lunch,” I said.
Of course nowadays I barely remember Colorado Springs, since we moved to Minnesota when I was five. I do vaguely remember the grocery store, and I remember the hill you had to walk up to get to the gas station near the grocery store where my brother and I would buy pop (usually Dr. Pepper). We would walk into town on our own, my brother just three years older than me and so eight years old at the oldest.
One time my brother and I were walking on a road that traversed the hills near our house in Colorado Springs and a guy in a black Chevy Blazer pulled up and asked us if we wanted a ride somewhere.
“Yes!” I said, and started to get into the car.
“I don’t think we should,” my brother said, knowing that getting into cars with strange men driving black Blazer’s was not a good idea.
But I didn’t listen to him.
My brother ran home and told me parents and I can’t imagine the mortification they must’ve felt, the worry. I can’t imagine how my mom must’ve felt when hearing that news.
But then there I was, in the black Blazer, getting out of the passenger’s side door in the driveway. The man had brought me home, and everything was fine.