Tuesday, May 6, 2008

O'Pine Cones

So I spent most of last week in YouShoreGottaPurtyMouth, Texas helping my mom and dad liquidate the contents of their “store.” The store my mom thought would be her perfect retirement pastime. The store my mom hasn’t bothered to open in three years. So I guess by “store” I mean ‘storage facility.”

This town of 400, with a quaint, four-block-long Main Street (which, coincidentally, is also a busy state highway. Nothing like a steady stream of 18-wheelers rumbling through your bucolic hamlet, eh?) really only comes to life on the weekends. People come from miles away to shop at the “antique” stores, so Saturdays and Sundays can see decent business. But Mom didn’t believe in working on Sundays. That’s the Lord’s day, you see.

So, there we were, basically holding a garage sale in an historic old building. The first day was all locals. Curiosity, I’m sure. Maybe they just wanted to get inside after all those years of only being able to peek through the windows.

It was like the cast of Deliverance and the cast of Greater Tuna all rolled into one. There was Loretta, who owns Loretta’s Café across the street. She was a cowgirl looking for a bargain. Everytime I gave her one, I expected to hear a loud whoop. Or for her to start circling the merchandise like a barrel horse.

There was the wife of the retired Justice of the Peace, who bought so much shit it filled the back of her Suburban. My dad said she came back on Sunday to say she was “ashamed” of how much she had gotten for so little, so she decided to see what else she could scavenge. On the Lord’s day, no less. I guess shame and Sunday mornings DO kind of go together.

And then the Country Queen came in. He owns the antique store two doors down. He minced and fussed, looking over each item as if its very provenance was his sole mission in life. Dude, most of this shit she bought retail and tried to mark it up. There are NO hidden treasure here, just pretty shit. And why is it that all the country queens look like they’re either from a 70’s porno or a Dolly Parton video—playing Dolly? Do you people not have the internet? Does mail not come here? I’m guessing even the Sears catalog has more contemporary looks than you boys are workin. Anyhoo, I made my favorite sale of the day. AntiquePornoGirl discovered a basket of pine cones and just about shit one himself. I knew he was dying to say, “Girl, fabulous!” but practiced his country discretion/restraint. “You like the pine cones,” I said seductively, using the East Texas twang I’ve worked so hard to shed. “I may have more in the back.”

I’m pretty sure I saw swelling in the front of his trousers.

“That . . . would be . . .great. Yes, please!” He could barely contain himself.

Sure enough, I had another giant basket of pine cones tucked on a shelf in the back. (WHY MOTHER? WHY?!?!!?)

I brought them out and watched him swallow hard. Who knew that all you needed was a pine cone? Shit, if I had known that in high school, I would have been a bigger slut than that Grantham girl.

By midday Saturday, I had to head back to civilization. But I have to say, I had a hell of a good time. I got to play retail queen for three days. I got to use my East Texas accent again. And I got to make fun of people in my head. Nice work if you can get it.

Tomorrow: The Lady Who Fucked a Horse

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ooh, scary parallels... my mom also came to the realization that driving 100 miles each way every weekend to run a shop that has lost money for twelve years isn't fun. thank god i live 1400 miles away and it fell to my "little" brother to help with the closin' up. there's advantages to moving away. O says hi