Thanks for the Memories, Mr. Caldwell

Two years ago, my former store director, whom I had worked with for 9 years, retired after 47 years in the grocery business. We threw him a huge party, and in honor of his retirement, I wrote some fitting (humorous) lyrics to the song “Thanks for the Memory”…….with lots of little inside jokes and insight into this amazing BUSY man!




Thanks for the memories……there won’t be any tears

after 47 years…..of sacking groceries

day and night a never-ending sight…..

How lovely….. it was?


Thanks for the memories…..that polyester red

blazer now is dead…. he’s cutting up his ties and

wearing polo shirts instead

How lovely it is….


Who started out as a bag boy,

soon worked his way up through the ranks,

with honesty and integrity

and for that, we say THANKS!

Thanks for the memories….. for giving us a chance

inspiring us to dance,

to spread our wings and learn new things

to make you proud of us……

We thank you so much!


Thanks to our Mr. C.  ……. for talking way too fast!

and walking way too fast!

we nodded when you said something

then wondered what you said!

How funny it was!!!


Thanks for the memories ……there won’t be any tears

after 47 years ….. of sacking groceries

day and night and now the end’s in sight…..

Deserve it? … darn right!


We know you’re ready to sleep late

and drink coffee out of a real cup

but we’re going to miss you complaining

it’s cold in here, turn the heat up“!
So, thanks for the memories,

And strictly between us, we’re going to make a fuss…

And show you that we’re glad your dreams are finally coming  true…..

Awfully glad we met you, you’re our partner through and through…..

So, thank you so much!

Jimmy Caldwell began his grocery career in 1958 at the age of 15 in Weatherford, Texas. After high school and starting college, at the age of 19, he was an assistant manager with the responsibility of carrying store keys. In 1963, Jimmy was hired at Brookshire’s #9, while he was visiting family there, and 3 months later went to Terrell #20 and worked his way up to assistant and stayed 5 years.

In 1968, Jimmy was named store director for Gladewater #7, he was the youngest store director for Brookshire’s at that time, and he stayed in Gladewater for 19 years!

In 1986, Jimmy was re-challenged as store director in Bossier City, LA. then 3 years later went to Shreveport where he served for 13 years.

In 2001, Jimmy moved back to Texas to serve as store director at the new #69 in Midlothian, where he led the store for 9 years; serving the community, setting the example of honesty and integrity, while maintaining his “old school” roots and training. Mr. C. retired in September 2010, but still had 16 of the original partners hired for the new store in 2001. Quite a feat these days.

Mr. Caldwell is enjoying his retirement, playing lots of golf and working with his sons in a new business venture. Each time he comes into the store, he has the biggest smile on his face and makes sure to visit with his former partners. We miss him, but are very happy that he is reaping the rewards of his many years of service.

Fourteen of the sixteen partners still working with Mr. Caldwell, that helped open the store in 2001.

Thank you Mr. Caldwell, for taking a chance on me, also, giving me the opportunity to learn with the challenge of training, and then taking over as office manager. You always said you and I were “old school” and I reminded you that YOUR old school was still ten years older than mine, but I was happy to be considered a valued partner. Thanks for your leadership, and more importantly, your actions and dedication to your customers.

PS…..I still keep the thermostat set on 70 degrees and it’s still cold in your former office 🙂


The Rebound Man

The Branding Iron 1989

Spring 1989, I was single, carefree, working in a fabric store, training for a store manager position, playing keyboard on Wednesday nights with the house band at The Branding Iron….I was very self-sufficient and for the first time in years, I was content. Doesn’t matter that I drove a 1973 Mazda station wagon, lived in a tiny garage apartment, had no telephone and barely made above minimum wage. I was happy with myself.

My best friend, Lori, and I went out together a lot, she was younger than me, well, she still is….and cuter, so she got asked to dance a lot more than I did, but that was okay. I wasn’t a very good dancer anyway. Lori worked in a grocery store, and one of her good friends Mike, was separated and getting divorced, so he began hanging around with us. He was very impressed with me because I was a musician. Nowadays he tells people I was a “bar-fly”……I was not interested at all in him, however, as he was about to be divorced for the second time and I had been single for 5 years by then. All the warning signals went off whenever he was around…..he certainly wasn’t a viable dating prospect. I did not want someone who was on the rebound, even though he promised he wasn’t.

My best friend, Lori…

Every time I called Lori at work, Mike seemed to answer the phone and he kept persisting, so finally, I promised him that Lori and I would teach him how to dance and then turn him loose on all the single women in Grayson County. Let him rebound with someone else, I thought.

The weekend of June 10, my mom and I had made a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth for a mini vacation, so even though I was tired when I got back home that evening, I kept my promise to meet Mike and Lori at the Branding Iron for dancing lessons.

June 10, 1989

Well, I’m weak, what can I say…..he was so funny, and he flattered me to no end…..but sadly, he never learned to dance. We spent the whole evening chatting and drinking, although one of us drank considerably more than the other. I won’t say which one, but I didn’t have a hangover the next morning when Mike called wanting to take me to breakfast. We spent the whole day together, and after lunch he insisted we play golf. Really? I said I only play Putt Putt golf, he said “oh no, you’ll LOVE golf”…..we played 3 holes and then left after being “shushed” by a neighboring golfer. So, maybe I was a little too giggly trying to flirt? We have not played golf since June 11, 1989.

To even the score, I insisted we go roller skating on Monday night with my sister and her boyfriend. “You’ll LOVE it” I said, with my best poker face. Mike was game, he put on his skates, walked across the carpeted floor to the wall around the rink, stood there for a few minutes watching us as we skated round and round, then he carefully walked back to the bench and removed his skates.

The next day, Mike presented me with a handwritten poem, the first and only one he ever wrote for me… says it all.

The Rebound Man

It was true love…….and we continue to live happily ever after, without golfing or roller skating…….. The Rebound Man and the bar-fly!