|Maria & the LTWs|
Maria relished the thought of Fall. The “summer people” the locals called them. They came to Angel Fire to escape the heat of Oklahoma and Texas and some brought thick accents, wads of hundred dollar bills and an attitude. The women were the worst. They came up to her cash register at the grocery store, speaking loud as if being Hispanic made you deaf, “Where ya'll keep the milk?”
She and her fellow Mora employees, who traveled 20 miles everyday for their $7.00 per hour, dubbed them the LTWs: Loud Texas Women. She saw this one coming in the door. Dressed in tight red pants ending below the knee and a frilly white blouse covering what had to be rolls of fat at the waist, the woman was walking hairspray. Although “big hair” was not the current trend, glued hair was, preferably frosted. Her fingernails could easily kill a cat. Maria wondered how much makeup a butter knife could remove from that face.
Maria swung her long black hair behind her and looked at the woman, “Can I help you? You look like you're looking for something in particular.”
“Well, sweetie, ya see, I've got to do some grocery shopping. Is this the whole store?”
Maria almost choked on the reply. “Yes, ma'am. This is it.”
“Idn't there a WalMart 'round here?”
“The WalMart's in Taos, ma'am”
“Now how do you say that? Is it TaaaaaaOs or Tahhhhhos?”
“The a is short, Taos.”
“And where is it? I need a WalMart.”
“Twenty three miles through the canyon, ma'am. Take you about 45 minutes.”
“Oh! That far for a Super WalMart?”
“No ma'am. Super WalMart's in Espanola. That'll take you about an hour and a half.”
“My Gawd! Where do you people shop?”
“Right here, ma'am.” Maria bit the inside of her mouth. “Maybe you should look around. We're small, but we have a lot.”
“Well,” LTW huffed, “guess I'm gonna havta.”
Maria watched her wide red butt disappear down an aisle with a cart and turned to check out a local. “Maria, you are up for sainthood for handling that one,” Steve smiled at her. That helped.
“Thanks. Have a good one Steve.” She busied herself with more checkouts. On Fridays, the locals shopped on their way home. They chatted and asked about her little boy, Ramon. He was with her mother today, along with the children of her sister. The kids played all day on her parent's acreage. She knew of daycare; they had a facility at the resort. It cost money and her Ramon would be with strange kids all day. Maria knew she was lucky to have such a close family.
Tonight, her husband Ernie came home. He worked construction during the week in Santa Fe because the pay was so much better. They almost had enough saved to buy a house. Her parents gave them land for their wedding and last weekend they looked at pre-manufactured homes in Albuquerque. Another couple of months, she told herself. Ernie's folks were nice, but they needed a place of their own.
She looked at the next customer: the LTW. Her load consisted of ground beef, steaks, bacon, milk, cheese, crackers, pizza, chips, ice cream and two frozen pies. Not a fruit or vegetable graced the cart. “Whereya'll have the brie? I need me some brie.”
“Sorry, ma'am. I don't think we carry brie. You looked in the cheese section, right?”
“Shoot, girl, I'm impressed you even know what brie is. 'Course I looked in the cheese section. Well, check me out. This will have to do.”
“Yes, ma'am.” Maria bit the inside of her mouth again. Yes, Summer could end anytime.