Monday, February 23, 2009

SHAKLEE, the Breakfast of Champions

Back in the lean mean years of the late 1960's, sucessful men wore slightly bell bottomed, white or pastel colored pants, often white shoes and flowered silk shirts. Hair styled by professionals, was the average appearance for an upscale evening on the town. Whatever the current style, my Texan brother-in-law was meticulous about his appearance. At the time he had never even heard of SHAKLEE.

One late Sunday he needed a quick trim. My new wife had watched me trim my sons hair with a clipper and plastic guard. She forgot to put on the guard and shaved off a clump of bro-in-laws finely shaped hair and it plopped onto the floor. Whoops, took a trip to a barbers house to trim it for that evenings important affair.

He didn't see the humor in it, but my wife and her sister got a good laugh.
My Bro-in-law, as I previously mentioned, was a meticulously coifured, smooth talkin' Southern gentleman...... after his hard days work was done.

We will go back to his early roots in Southeast Texas way before SHAKLEE. Crawfish huntin' and Catfish, was a way to feed the family of two very rough boys and one girl along with tough cousins and other kin very well accustomed to survival mode. He learned his way around a bayou early and fishin' was not for sport, it put food on the table. Baseball was the way to spend every other hour not spent diggin' for something to eat.

One other thing 'The Boy' learned in his years of rough survival in Texas, was how to cook up a mess of Crawfish, Catfish, Gumbo, and Jambalai, Dirty Rice and beans served with cornbread. Getting her 'Boy's through school, was Mammaw's goal. The only discipline for the rough boys away from home, came from baseball. As soon as enough schoolin' was aquired, the US Airforce finally gave 'The Boy' a way out of Southeast, gulf coast, Texas.

He showed up workin' the New Mexico Radar station 30 miles out on ABQ's West mesa. We called it the 'golf ball' as it could be seen from the high mesa and mountain on the East side. One night the Boy came to town all dressed like a young 'squared away' airman with a deep Texas drawl. He promptly was involved in a local barfight and took a severe 'Whuppin'.

Vowing to never let that happen again, The Texan worked out in the radar facility's gym at every opportunity, rather than go to town as often as the others. On one trip, most likely to 'Little Beaver Town' for a dance, he did meet my future wifes, older sister. They were married near the end of his military service.

They moved to his southeast Texas town near the water he loved, and had two little kids. The only job nearby was at the big rubber plant where he toiled his days away, played baseball on the local team, while everyone constantly wiped away mosquitos. Of course he always fished and hunted for their food he loved to cook. Crabbin', cookin' and baseball took up all the spare time.

Boom times are followed by hard times, and the Texas plant shut down now and then, causing distress in the young couple's marriage. The ABQ family patriarch, finally brought the Texas Boy and his little family back to live and work at the family business in ABQ, The local Block Plant. After working hard and proving his value, learning the hard business and demonstrating his very strong ability in convincing other men to do his bidding, he was eventually promoted.

He was by day, the Block Plant Yard foreman, ram rodding and working alongside the whole crew of really tough, hard working men. He worked long hours, six days a week, loading trucks with cinder blocks at the prosperous block plant. He repeatedly climbed up on the 18 wheelers, with their flatbed loads of heavy cinder blocks he had carefully stacked.

The Texan had to carry over 100 pounds of big load chains hanging from his huge shoulders, fasten them to the framework of the truck and send it out for delivery. He did that endlessly all day long, soaked in sweat and obtaining a deep tan. To say he got 'Buff', is not fully grasping the picture. He became massive in the arms and shoulders with strong hands, legs and lungs. Not one ounce of fat survived. His 'six pack' looked like half litres.

When we went out for an evening of dining, the Texan ate a huge steak of his own, then cleaned up the leftovers from the rest of the table. Most times he stopped on the way home and washed it down with a hamburger or two. I think he could eat a bale of hay.

He also went to the gym about three or four nights a week to lift weights and work the bag for relaxation. Because he worked so hard at his job, he physically took on the appearance of Arnold Schwarzeneger and his working hands were calloused like rawhide leather. He became a member of 'The Shrine' and attended Dale Carnegie classes for memory and relationships in business.

A SHAKLEE rep was at the gym one evening, and approached my massively muscled bro-in-law, asking him if he wanted to become a dealer. He agreed and after his shower, sat at a table near the entrance each evening for about 30 minutes to an hour. He met other men at the table, and talked as he cooled down after each evening's workout. Envious guys, that watched his awesome strength and endurance during his workouts, would stop at his table loaded with SHAKLEE products, and ask how he got so trim yet huge in the arms, shoulders legs and chest.

My big, good looking, Bro-in-law said in his deep Texas drawl, that the secret was lots of SHAKLEE products like 'THESE', holding them in his big powerful hands while flexing his huge 28" circumference biceps.

According to his smiling, well rehearsed Dale Carnegie sales pitch, SHAKLEE was what made all of the muscle, therefore, SHAKLEE made 'The Man'. The crowd layed their money and checks on the table and walked out with arm loads of SHAKLEE.

As a result of his deep Texas bayou drawl, good, clean cut looks, showmanship and size, he sold more SHAKLEE products than any one person in the Southwest region, which was Albuquerque. The crowds at his table, got even more intense... after a fight at the block plant.

A big, young local contractor with an untarnished background in collegiate boxing, a mean streak a mile wide, and well known reputation for performing 'Whupass' on anyone that crossed him, called the block Plant office one day, cursing at the person on the phone.

'The TEXAS Boy' who had answered it, promptly hung up on that kind of trash talk. The phone rang again and the Boy answered once again. The big contractor then said "I am on my way over to teach you some respect, just what is your name".

He had never met my TEXAN bro-in-law, but cussed him out on the phone about a late delivery. The Boy hung up on him once again. He immediately called back, saying he was coming over to 'Whup his Ass'. The boy went up to his boss's private office and told about the heated conversation and threat. The block plant's owner knew the big man well and told bro-in-law that the guy always talked loud, but usually never acted...much.

When he slid his big Lincoln into the block yard, and busted through the front door yelling, "Where is that #$%&ing ------- --------", My Texan bro-in-law, standing at the end of the counter, promptly and powerfully commensed to unleash one of his 'big guns', and feed this obnoxious foul mouth, a big calloused fist, full of rock hard knuckles... after smoothly drawling, "Rawht heah' Suh".

The battle was on.... The block plant owner, a hardscrabble TEXAS native himself, after hearing the commotion from his upstairs private office, ran down the stairs while yelling, "Beat the S--t out of him Boy, Beat the S--t out of him!". 'The Boy' was holding onto the big man with his powerful left hand, while pounding his face with his big right hand, all the while obediantly drawling, "Yes Sir, Yes sir, to his 'boss!

The big battle between the heavy weight gladiators, which lasted several minutes and progressed from room to room, their rock hard bodies, crashing into stacked displays of cinder block, destroying pieces of heavy furniture and vending machines, seemed to never end, according to eye witnesses. The two equally big men were picking up heavy items and smashing each other with them. Two powerful cage fighters, participating in 'off duty' recreation.

At one point my bro-in-law saw an upholstered chair being held by it's legs, raised high in the hands of the enraged bull attacker. It was coming down onto his head. He crossed his huge arms in protection and the chair shattered into many pieces.

After countless minutes of heavy and destructive battle rage, it finally ended with the attacker crab crawling to the door and running out to his car. In his brief but extremely violent visit, he had aquired a broken jaw, broken nose and eye socket, with blood all over his clothes and a big red, black, and blue, raw hamburger face.

'The Texas Boy' nervously paced like a Panther near the office door as the well known, block plant owner told him to stay there, and went out to the guy's Lincoln.

He asked him, "What in the world is wrong with you? Acting like a fool, coming in to My business and threatening to 'Whupass' on someone you didn't even know". The big man 'blurbled' at the Plant owner, through what was left of his blood soaked mouth and teeth, "That boy 'sucker punched' me".

Upon hearing that remark, the rough tough, block plant owner yelled to the Texan by the door, "Hey Boy, He wants some more of you". As the Texas boy strode towards him, the big man immediately slammed his car door and spun out of the block yard, spitting gravel from his tires.

He was reportedly in the hospital for a couple of days and no one saw him for quite some time afterward. When they finally did, they said he seemed to be a much nicer person and more polite than ever before in his life.

'The Texas Boy' became famous all over Albuquerque's busy construction industry, because word of a big fight, travels faster than the speed of light. After that big fight in the Block Plant owner's office, 'The Texas Boy's SHAKLEE products became the hottest items in town. Everybody in construction, wanted his exact vitamin and supplement regimen. Everyone wanted to be on his 'team'. His garage was filled with supplies to keep his customers happy. "SHAKLEE, The Breakfast of Champions".

Only in America, "One Nation Under GOD"


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