There were a few families in Ft. Worth that allowed me to come into their homes, while I was out there. One of them was Arch Miller and his wife. Arch was a retired Colonel in the Air Force. Mrs. Miller worked with me at Sanger Harris. They were a nice older couple.
They organized picnics for those of us who worked with her. We went out to a park next to Carswell AFB and to a swimming hole outside of town. We would go over to their house and just sit. Arch loved to play poker, so he taught some of us how to play. Growing up, my father never allowed us to play cards, unless it was Old Maid or Uno. My brother and I would play cards under the sheets at night using a flashlight. So, the idea of playing real card games was very appealing to me. Arch taught us many games, but the one I liked the best was something called Cutthroat, which was like 7-card stud. It was like sweating bullets. We never played for big money, but the pot could get up to around $50.
After getting the lessons, some of us guys from work would get together on Thursday night to play poker. It was more of an excuse to drink beer than play cards, but it was fun anyway. One night, Kare through a surprise party for me. Everyone had chipped in to give me a money tree. There was $150 on it. There was a poker game going in the back of the house. Kare told me that if I took the money tree to the poker game, she would never speak to me again. I did it anyway, and I lost it all. Kare made up with me a few days later.
We also would drink beer at the Miller's house. One Sunday, it was my turn to buy the beer and bring it to their house. I went to a nearby 7-11 to get the beer. While I was inside, a group of Hispanic guys pulled into the store, and their car blocked mine from getting out. I was mad, because I had to get to the party. I had the beer. Everyone was waiting for me, so I got into my car with the beer and tried to get out of the parking space. No luck. So, I rammed their back bumper with my car. Several times. Until their car moved enough for me to get out. As I was pulling away, I saw them running out of the store. Their back bumper was hanging from their car. They were yelling things at me, but I figured that if they didn't know how to park, that was not my problem. I had a big dent in the back right side of my car from pounding theirs, but I had to get to the party. I had the beer.
Drinking began to be a problem. As I have written before, there was a club in the mall where my store was. Kare and I would go there after work and get drunk. Sometimes, I would go there on my meal break and get a sandwich. One day, I was working late in the Luggage Dept. I took my supper break and went to the club. Rather than eat anything, I had a couple of Vodka Collins and went back to work. A woman asked me to show her a bag on the shelf. I reached out to grab the handle, but I couldn't find it. I was grasping at the air. I finally got hold of the bag and made some comment about the handle being too close to the bag to grab. She laughed. I couldn't see. That was when I decided that I had to cut back on the booze. It scared me. I had a beer once in a while after that, but no more hard liquor. It was affecting my functioning. That is what scared me. I told Kare about that experience, and she agreed that she would quit too. We are both alive today, because that woman wanted to see a piece of Luggage. I don't remember if she bought it.