June 2, 1995 – Friday – 10:20 p.m.

The Bridges of Madison County opened in theaters today.  After my hard day at work, I decided to go see it this evening.  Mom wanted to go with me, so I let her.  She was excited; she finally got the chance to do something.

It was a wonderful picture.  My mom cried.

As the credits rolled, we went out the exit near the screen, but then we took a wrong door and ended up on the other side of the mall.  We had to walk around

And there, in an isolated and empty parking lot, I walked with my mom, a woman a little over 40, and I asked, “Mom, has Kevin or Nate or I ever stopped you from being who you wanted to be?”

She said, “No, but your father did.”

She began to cry.

Painful memories I suppose.  But it was then that I realized that at one point in my mother’s life, she actually loved my father.  That was so long ago.

I watched her as she pulled her keys out of her purse to unlock the car door and begin her journey towards our home and her world of detail and procedures.

June 2, 1994…if only I knew…

June 2, 1993…I difficult night, but now I don’t know why…

June 2, 1995…my first grade teacher recognized me today at McDonald’s.  It had been 12 years since she last saw me.  How could she have even recognized me?  But to her, she said I hadn’t changed much.

I always hear older people reflecting upon their youth and telling wonderful little stories.

I learned today that all of my youthful little stories have already been conjured up and written down.  The story of how I grew up cannot be re-written.

And now I will lay my down to sleep.  Only to wake up to another day of fast food procedure.

Perhaps there are bridges in Crestview.

May 19, 1995 – Friday – 4:35 p.m.

I’ve worked hard today.  I’m tired.

For the past two days I have run the drive-thru at McDonald’s.  People come to the window.  Some smile at me.  Some do not. Some say ‘thank you.’  Some don’t say a word.  They come, stop for a little while and to be next to me, and then they leave and move on.  Some are grateful, but some do not even notice I am there.

How sad it is to see the similarities between fast food drive-thru service and life.

To them, I am not the Jacob that Emily loves.  To them I am not the Jacob who impressed the entire performing arts faculty at Lees-McRae.  To them, I am no one.  I am their servant.

But while at Lees-McRae, to everyone I served while working in the post office, I felt like they knew me, they valued me, they appreciated me.  To them I was the true Jacob.

Things are different around here.

I want something exciting to happen.

I want to truly love somebody.

I want this summer to contain more than just 45 hours a week at McDonald’s.

Please Lord, let something happen.

August 6, 1993 – Friday – 11:12 p.m.

I got paid yesterday.  Today, I cashed my check and went shopping: shoes, socks, underwear, pants, saline solution, etc.  I came home and got ready for work.

Mike’s sister Ruth works at McDonald’s and maybe it’s just a hunch but I think she likes me.  Or either she is just being very, very, very, very nice.

I was on fry duty tonight and she comes over there and practically does half the job for me.  I don’t need the help, but I don’t want to be rude and tell her I can handle it myself.  She is as sweet as she can be, a real soft-spoken person.  I’m nice to her and I know I can trust her.

Well, while she was helping me with the fries, I noticed she had been there for about five minutes.  So, I said, “What are you doing tonight?”

Now I meant, “What position are you working tonight at McDonald’s?” because I know they didn’t tell her to cover fries.

She said with a smile, “Well, nothing.  I just work until nine and then I’m free after that.”

Then it hit me.  It sounded like I was asking her out.  I said, “No, I mean what are you doing at McDonald’s?”  She looked down and said, “Oh, I’m just stocking up, they haven’t given me a register yet.”

She stayed there about a second longer and then went to the back.  I hope I didn’t hurt her.

We leave at the butt crack of dawn tomorrow.  I better get some sleep.