“Listen Jenny dear, I’m not trying to be a nosy neighbor but I’m worried about your Momma and your Aunt Mavis.”
I recognized the voice on the phone as shy Miss Myrtle who lived next door to the elderly twin sisters.
“Why, Miss Myrtle, what’s wrong?”
“Well…it’s just so hard to explain. A big brown truck comes to their house every day and they get lots of boxes.”
Now I was curious. “What kinds of boxes?”
“Oh you know -- big ones and little ones.”
We weren’t making much progress here so I promised to look into it. I called my happy-go-lucky widowed mother. She answered in her usual musical voice, like she had just heard a wonderful joke and was still chuckling.
“Hey there, Jenny. Mavis and I are so excited you’ll be here in a few days on your vacation.”
I tried to sound casual. “How’re things going, Momma? Done anything interesting lately?”
She just giggled like a young girl with a secret.
“Oh my…yes, we’re having so much fun it ought to be illegal.”
I arrived at their house the same time as the next mysterious delivery. I hollered to the fast-moving driver, “Excuse me…do you make a lot of stops here?”
He confirmed what Miss Myrtle had reported then loped back to his waiting truck.
After hugs all around, and two helpings of Momma’s peach cobbler, I asked what was in the big boxes they had scooted into the corner in the hall.
“Jenny, did you know there are some amazing deals on that television day and night?”
“On what television, Aunt Mavis?”
“The one sitting right in the living room by the fireplace.”
I had a sinking feeling where my inheritance was going.
After more chitchat and evasion, they clicked on to a loud infomercial and ignored me completely as they oohed and aahed over a set of bright yellow pots and pans with non-stick bottoms. Mavis was dialing the number on the screen before I could intervene.
“Oh fizzle sticks,” she whined, “the line’s busy. “
My mother chimed in with more excitement than a gambler with a stack of chips, “It’s ‘cause everybody wants ‘em. It was just like when we almost missed that china service for twelve decorated with the reindeers and little snowmen.”
I walked over and turned off the lure of the sale oozing through the airways and seducing these naďve octogenarians.
“Now Momma; Aunt Mavis. Talk to me.”
They looked at each other and sighed, then opened the door into the huge dining room. It was stacked to the ceiling with unopened loot. I was stunned for a few seconds and then found myself speaking like a perplexed parent.
“What is this stuff, ladies?”
Momma began to laugh so hard she had to sit on one of the boxes that had this side up written upside down.
“Oh Jenny, I believe we did get a little carried away.”
A cloud of puzzlement floated over her usual jolly countenance as she turned to her sister. ”Mavis…what is here? I don’t even remember.”
Aunt Mavis wrinkled her forehead in a desperate attempt to think.
“There was something that chops, slices, and juliennes -- whatever that is -- and the man said we had to order before midnight and it was already after eleven and then we decided to get two.”
“I thought that was the battery-operated flapjack flipper. It never did work.”
Mavis muttered, “The combination drill/electric knife fell apart too.”
These precious women were way out of their league in resisting the charm of what sparkled and beckoned in living color.
I was able to find most of the receipts and get the tacky merchandise sent back. When the two willingly went to Happy Acres Assisted Living, I kept the checkbook and credit card.
One night, after scrubbing the old house all day getting it ready to sell, I turned on the TV while I rested and had some supper. There was a devastatingly handsome man swabbing the nastiest floor I’d ever seen. He sounded so frantic.
You’ll never buy another mop...I guarantee it. Folks, this is the cleaning phenomena of the future. Throw away that old junk you’ve been using. Look how easy this is, and you don’t have to touch anything dirty. It does it all…blah, blah, blah.
I didn’t hear what else he said; I had to hurry to be one of the first fifty callers to qualify for three easy payments.
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