March 17, 2010
Audrey felt pinched. It was a general pinching, not specific to anything she was wearing, not a rogue twinge to suggest she wasn’t wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. She was. She’d even worn her green PJ’s to bed last night so she’d wake up wearing green—an old trick she’d adopted when the boys were little and very pinchy. She’d supplied them with green socks and made green pancakes and green milk, sent them to school with green apples and shamrock-shaped cheese and fixed corned beef and cabbage for dinner (which she later learned was an American custom and not Irish, but what the heck) and green jell-o for dessert.
Today, however, the sun hadn’t come up green. Carl had left early so he could stop by the lumberyard; she’d barely seen him. Evan had sleepwalked through breakfast and dashed for the bus. Joe had surprised her by getting up and poaching eggs for them both. Then he’d wanted to know where they kept the lawnmower oil. Lawnmower oil? She couldn’t remember the last time the lawnmower oil had been changed, but it seemed like a good idea. The hardware store was in the same block as Goodwill, wasn’t it? Audrey volunteered to go.
She hadn’t been to Goodwill in a while. It didn’t do to go too often; she’d see the same tippy candleholder, the same kitschy cookie jar, the same novel from last year’s bestseller list. She walked into the store and was drawn immediately to an old round-topped trunk. This was a trunk of another day, of oceans and steam trains. This was a find.
And how about this? A spattered edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two. What luck! It must’ve been put on the shelf that morning; this sort of book would last about as long as a soufflé here.
She was beginning to think she’d find gold in every aisle. Her clothes stopped binding—had she shrunk?—as she observed the rainbow of color-matched displays heading each aisle. The green collection caught her eye. There were no shamrocks or leprechauns, just green glass and pottery, things that had been handed down from one person to another to another. Carbon footprints are all the buzz these days, she thought, but how do you calculate used footprints? How do you count old shoes?
Audrey didn’t have anything planned for dinner; the guys didn’t really like corned beef and cabbage anyway. Maybe she’d try something French.
©2010 Pam Wells