The Coffee Shop
Many years ago Heavener had a bus station in the downtown area. It was located at the corner across the street from the current police station. It was a drive through corner similar to those that used to be popular for downtown gasoline stations. Next to it was the Coffee Shop on the same street as Stanley Hardware. It survived longer than the bus station.
The Coffee Shop was the weekly meeting place of the Quarterback Club. It also was a place where some kids hung out in the early evening (before midnight). The summer between my sophomore and junior years at HHS it was also my employer. Not too many people were aware of the job because it didn’t start until 3:00 AM and was over by 5:00 AM. I was the swamper who cleaned up the floor each night (morning?). Practically the only people who were in the place at that early hour were railroad men and an occasional drunk.
My job was simple. Get the mop and bucket and swamp the floor from the back to the front. At least it would have been simple if not for the customers in the Shop at the time. Getting one of the railroad workers to move his feet or change booths was nigh on to impossible. And any drunks that were in the place made life even more interesting. So what should have been a one hour job usually took me closer to two hours as I waited for the slow coffee drinkers to leave so I could clean the floor in all the booths.
The best part of the job was the end! When I had finished I would drive to Hodgens with all the windows in the car down. Air conditioning was something still in my future but, before 5:00 AM the air at least felt cool. It was also usually at 100% humidity. On the return trip from Hodgens I would drive as fast as my Father’s car (1955 Chevrolet with the small block V-8) would run. First, across the flat north of Hodgens and then a slight reduction in speed to turn after crossing the bridge over the Poteau. Accelerate again until the curve around the end of Pine Mountain came up—back off a little—and then let it all out on the straight into Heavener. At the end of the straight I would stand on the brakes and make the turn on to Independence Road as fast as my skills would let me. On a couple of occasions I went just a little north of the west bound road and up in the church yard.
It would be dangerous to do now what I did back then. I never met anyone on my high speed runs into Heavener and cannot recall ever having to pass a car. Traffic was practically non-existent.
I suppose that my Father would have skinned me if he had known what I was doing.