All I wanted was six rolls of toilet paper. Seems simple enough -- go to the store, buy six rolls, put them in a bag and come home. But not for my husband. No, the six rolls turned into six pounds of ricotta cheese, six packages of instant cookie mix and two cans of baked beans.
As soon as the words left my lips, I knew my folly. “Honey, on your way home from work, could you please pick up six rolls of toilet paper?” Always an optimist, I thought maybe, maybe, it will only be six rolls of toilet paper this time. It was not to be. True to form, my husband just couldn’t resist the lure of the supermarket sale.
As I unpacked the goods, I remembered the story my mom always told about my dad and the closet doors.
I was very small and my parents were still re-doing the house. My dad said to my mom, “Honey, I’m going out to the store to pick up those closet doors for our bedroom.” Mom recalled, many years later, that those words still sent shivers up and down her spine, as my dad never just came back with ‘just’ anything. He always later explained, “Look, these were on sale. I couldn’t help myself.”
There was the time my father went out for a Christmas tree and came home with an entire set of Lionel trains for my brother Al. He was barely old enough to hold up his own head, let alone run the set, but there they sat under the tree. Then there was the time dad went out for a new toaster oven and came home with a brand-new Zenith console TV, remote control and all. And, of course, there was that time before my mom ever existed in his life that his mother sent him out to the butcher to pick up a ham for dinner -- and on the way home he detoured to a Dodger game. The ham went bad, but the Dodgers won.
Anyway, back to the closet doors. Dad went to the lumberyard that was conveniently located near a car dealership. As dad was looking at the many varieties, his eyes happened to stray upon a brand-new 1958, four-door white Oldsmobile 98 with red interior and chrome detailing. As he haggled with the lumber man, he just couldn’t stop thinking about the car that seemed to be calling him over. The car’s little voice was patient and quiet at first. “Come on over, take a look at me,” it said. Then a little louder, “You know you want to look at me, don’t you?” And, finally, without any more patience, “Look, forget the doors. You know that it’s me that you want, so come on over NOW.” And just like that, my dad plunked down the money, bought the closet doors, and headed straight for the dealer’s desk.
My mom, not overly concerned when dad failed to return after an hour, explained that she knew from past experience that something must have caught his attention and he would be home soon enough, saying, “Look, these were on sale.”
Three hours later, there he came, looking very happy with himself, holding four closet doors along with a set of jingling keys to a brand-new 1958 Oldsmobile with red interior and chrome detailing. That car, with its roomy interior and overly large trunk, was the only brand-new car my dad ever owned and it took us on many a family vacation. It stayed with us until 1966, when my brother not only got his license but learned that “drag racing” was a lot more fun than studying for school. The Olds met its match and was respectfully laid to rest at the local junkyard.
I smiled as I remembered the doors and dutifully put away the six bags of cookie mix, two cans of beans and six pounds of ricotta cheese, thinking, “Not for nuthin’, but what can I make with all this ricotta?” Baked beans and ricotta anyone? Happy Thanksgiving to all.
E-mail “Not for Nuthin’” at JoannaD@co
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