Today Is The Day Apr20


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Today Is The Day




Eva woke up slowly and glanced at the clock.  6: a.m. almost time to get up.  She stretched and noticing the cool air, pulled the warm quilt back around her shoulders.  Today is Saturday, she told herself.  Today is the day, well, evening, for our Old Girl’s Club meeting.  I really look forward to those monthly evenings when I get to spend time visiting with so many long time school friends.  

We reminisce about the old days and speak of plans for the future, anything that is current in the news and often get to make a new friend, if a guest is brought by someone. 

Tonight Kira is bringing her visiting cousin to my house for our regular   Club meeting.  She’s a California girl, like the rest of us, but joined the Army right out of High School and has spent her life in the military, according to Kira, living all over the world. What was her name?  I think she called her Bella.  She was younger and not in our class, so I knew of her, but not like a close friend, but any friend or cousin of one of The Group was a friend of everyone’s.

This set Eva wondering what she should prepare this morning to serve the group tonight.  Not an easy decision.  A couple were always on a diet, three were vegan, at least they were last month, but who knows, women are so flexible about their various diets.  The others just wanted something rich and delicious  to enjoy once a month on this special day 

The group had once voted to be catered and then to have a Pot Luck.  For two years now every member had a month to do it all and what she served was her choice. With ten to twelve regulars in their little Old Girl’s Club your turn didn’t come around very often.  She had looked forward to this night at her home. What should she prepare to impress them?

 The main reason for the Old Girl’s Club was to have a monthly time for our long time school friends to get together.  We are not so very old, but each year we are a year older, so as we say 

“If you want to do something, do it now. As you can’t possibly do it any sooner.”  But we are each other’s oldest friends.  Only June and Barbie and I were still single    Most are married, half have kids.   So without a planned date, time slid by and no one ever had the time or the will to call and invite people to meet somewhere just for small talk.  The Old Girl’s Club was to prevent this group from losing touch. 

The clock alarm bell rang.  Had she really been reminiscing for an entire half an hour?

Eva punched the clock and sat up to face her first decision of every day.  What should I wear?  On week days she worked at an office keeping track of the Personnel.  She didn’t really mind the interviewing and hiring but the firing had become a Law problem these days and she hated that.  Part of her job was to dress well with office suitable clothes to give the new applicants some idea about what was expected of them if they were hired and came to work there. She swept her thick, dark, hair into a bun and wore sharp suits with high heels, which she hoped gave her an appearance of efficiency.

Today was Saturday, goof off day, so she pulled on a soft jogging suit and tied on, old, but comfortable running shoes.

The telephone rang.

“Who could that be?  

“Oh, good morning, Alice, you can’t attend tonight? Too bad. One of the kids ? Yes I understand and I hope your son recovers soon.  Yes, that is so sad.  How is your Mom doing?  Well that’s good anyway.  I’ll pass the word and we will see you next month.  At Barbie’s house that’s right.  Give little, Teddy a kiss from me.  He’s a darling. Bye”.

By the time Eva was dressed the phone was ringing again.

Hello June, Yes it is tonight and at my house.  Oh that is too bad. Alice can’t either.  Her Little Teddy, you know. That’s right.  Well, we’ll see you next month at Barbie’s.  Bye!”

It rang again just as soon as the receiver went down.  “My Goodness!”  she said aloud.  Who now?”

“Karen, How nice to hear that Tom got the new job!  I was afraid you might have to stay home tonight.  Oh you do?  That is too bad.  Yes.  Of course, I do understand.  Stuff happens.”

Then one after the other she heard from June, who suddenly got a hot date for tonight. I should understand being one of the last of the singles too.  I did… sort of.  Then Fay’s new baby had the croup, Rita’s in-laws were on the way and she was cleaning house like crazy, and Libby had to work late, even though she would much rather come visit with the Girls.. but had no choice, so sorry. 

It looked as if she and Kira and her cousin, Bella and Barbie, were the only women who would still be here tonight. But if Barbie, who was also single, got a hot date, she would drop us in a heartbeat. 

Eva was about to call Barbie to cancel the whole meeting but Barbie beat her to it and made some lame excuse about coming down with a cold but she would see everyone next month at her house. 

Kira phoned a little later to beg off as the cousin wanted to see some other old friends and she was catering to her all this week.

So, Eva sat wondering about what had just happened here.  She had never heard of all the guests copping out at the same time.  This must be a national first… maybe a world first!  

“Well today is the day for something good she was sure, so she thought she I might as well enjoy it and the freedom from cooking that came with it.

That made her hungry, so she went to the kitchen to see what looked good.   Not finding anything that tempted her, she grabbed her faded but useful sun hat to go out and have a nice refreshing, head clearing, run to the nearby Park.  

As she passed the hall mirror she stopped to run a brush through her dark hair bringing a little shine to her natural waves.  Then she slammed on the sun hat and was ready to face the disinterested public with a fast jog.

In her mind she was already ordering a warm cinnamon bun and coffee in the tiny shop at the Park entrance. 

She was right to get out.  She felt better already and the Café was in sight. It all must have been a co-incidence that everyone, all of them, had a reason to cancel coming to the Club meeting at her house.  It could not have been anything she did.  Just chance… an odd set of chances, but who was keeping track?  She even smiled at the thought of the next meeting when they all would laugh at what an odd event had happened today.  

Asshe slowed to pass the Café’s big window on her way to the door, she did a double take for she was quite certain that she saw Barbie sitting there.  Barbie, who was suffering with a cold and would spend the day in bed?

 Stopping at the door post she looked back and yes it was Barbie and she was sitting and laughing with Alice, who, she was told, was home nursing a very sick little boy. What was going on here?

Rather than confront them Eva passed the door quickly and jogged, no ran fast, for a half a block before stopping.   Then she chose a bench facing the lake and sat wondering… Why was she being so careful not to confront a pair who had lied to her.  Didn’t they deserve to be embarrassed at being caught?

Eva could not answer her own question. All she knew was that she was the one who felt a wave of hot embarrassment at seeing them.

On the far side of the Lake was another little Café, she got up and ran to that one for her coffee and a cinnamon roll.  She loved cinnamon rolls but this one stuck in her throat, probably because of the way she was feeling, so she sipped down the coffee and left for home.

Remembering her uninspiring refrigerator she stopped at her favorite Local Market on the way home and pushed the basket quickly around, trying to keep her mind on what she was out of, instead of… the couple of lying friends in the coffee shop.

 By the time she had found everything she needed and stood facing the over- flowing market basket, she suddenly felt stupid for forgetting that she had walked here.  With no car trunk to put this stuff into, she had over bought.  She stood just looking at the four big grocery bags full of needed foods, feeling helpless.  She couldn’t carry all of this and going around putting them back didn’t appeal to her either.  

The Market had a new manager and she watched until he came near, than she smiled across the counter and got his attention so she could admit that she had, silly her, bought more than she could carry.

“Do you deliver?  Eva asked 

He looked her over slowly, very slowly, then returned her smile and said ,  “You got it!  I will deliver both you and your groceries right up to your door and straight into the kitchen. How about that?”

That was more than she had asked for and with his fanciful way of looking at her from head to toe, not to mention how good looking he was, she paused, thinking, as she looked back at this handsome new Manager, and impulsively decided to do something she never did before.  She would invite him to come in for coffee, so she replied,.

“I accept thankfully, if you will let me make you a cup of coffee when we get there?”  Suddenly she wished she hadn’t, because he looked surprised then turned to the young woman at the register.  Oh, oh, was she his girl friend or wife?  Eva was sure she now blushed, as her face felt hot.

He laughed and in a stage whisper asked the checker,

“Fern, do you know this young lady?”

“Yes , She is Eva Wilson from the next block up the street.”

“Is she a good customer?”  Fern looked at Eva and back at this new guy, confused, at his serious face.

“Why?”  she asked timidly.

“Well, Fern as you know I am new in town, so if you know this lady will you please introduce us?”

“Sure . If you say so.   Mark O’Neal this is Eva Wilson and…” she looked back at Eva and smiled as she pointed to the Manager said softly, “ Eva this is our crazy new manager.  Mark O’Neal.  Watch out!  We haven’t had a sane day since he arrived two weeks ago.”     

Mark leaned close to Fern’s ear, but spoke so Eva could hear him.  “Would it be safe for me to go to her home for a cup a Joe?”

Fern laughed out loud as she answered, having decided to go along with one of his usual odd little games. “Eva lives alone.  Can you take care of yourself?”

“Can she?”

“So far she has.  But she has not had to handle a character like you yet I’d imagine.”   Mark looked at his watch.

“Okay, I’ll chance it.  But if I don’t return in… oh, three or four hours come save me, Okay?”  

With that Mark handed two filled grocery bags to Eva and took the other two and headed for the door.  Eva followed.  At the door Mark looked back at Fern who was still smiling.  “Wish me luck!” he called to her.

“Take care!” Fern called back as she began to ring up the next customer, who was smiling, so he must have already met this funny new guy.  

  Eva had to agree with Fern.  This guy was crazy.  Still she stepped up ahead to lead the way until they were in her little home.  He paused on the porch to admire her climbing roses and smell them, then quickly caught up.

Mark didn’t waste any time he went straight to the kitchen as though he had been there a million times.  While Eva was occupied putting the grocery items away properly, Mark picked up the empty coffee pot, rinsed it out and filled it with water from the tap.  He then stood back for a minute then zeroed right into the place where Eva kept the coffee.  He added some to the strainer on top and set it in place on the appliance and pushed a button to start it.  

Eva was fascinated and stopped her job to watch as he took two mugs from the next cupboard and placed them on the kitchen table with two paper napkins.  Did this guy used to be a waiter or what?

Neither spoke as she took two gooey, frosted, cinnamon rolls from the white bakery bag and placed them on small plates next to the mugs.  Then she sat down and began to unroll hers from the outside edge with her fingers then popped the torn off piece into her mouth and licked the sugar off of her finger tips.   

Mark stood by the brewing coffee until the light went on, then he lifted the pot and filled each mug, returned the pot, opened the correct drawer and drew out a fork, then sat down.  He took one sip of the coffee before speaking.  

Eva had been waiting for him to open the conversation. What would he say?

“This is pretty good coffee. But we sell one that is much better. I’ll show it to you next time you come in.”

“Thank you.  I usually like to grocery shop on Thursdays, on my way home from work, when I have the car to carry everything home.  Sorry about today.  I just wasn’t thinking, because I always have my dependable old car when I shop”. 

“You Blondes don’t usually pull that trick on a Saturday I have to admit.

“I’m not a Blonde.  Are you blind? “  Eva said indignantly.

“Sure you are.  I’ll bet you put some of that Clairol stuff on to color over it, so folks will take you seriously and not give you your regular “dumb Blonde  label.”  Using the edge of the fork, Mark cut a wedge of the sweet roll off and speared it into his mouth.  

“I am a natural golden Brunette.  Ask my Mom.  That’s what she calls my hair color.”  Mark’s eyes twinkled as he chewed the roll and sipped more coffee.  Then he laughed,  

“I got you there!  We sell that exact same color, Golden Brunette, in our store.  And…  Nobody but those sweet dumb Blondes ever need a ride home or delivery or a price check or,  get this,  some man to lift the high up things down for them, even if they are 6 feet tall.  They also like to get into the fast line for those with only 12 items, although, pushing a large four bag load just like yours.”

“It was the only checker open!”  Eva said with more indignation.  “What did you expect me to do?  Stand to one side and just wait for you to open another line?   What’s more I only asked if you had a delivery truck.  It was you who offered this.”   She held up her coffee cup.”

“I beg your pardon.  I offered a ride home for your food and you.  It was your idea to have coffee.”

“It seemed like the polite thing to do.  I should have just said, sorry, I forgot to drive and walked out… so you could put everything back on the shelves. “

“And I could have piled them all in a rolling basket and had the box boy push it to your house.” 

 “Okay,” Eva smiled, “You win that round.  But now that you’ve made yourself at home in my kitchen cupboards, you may have noticed that they are quite bare.”

“Let’s see!”  Mark stood and went to the refrigerator and opened the door.  He peeked in for a minute recognized all of the new things,  then took out a half empty milk bottle and smelled it.  “Ugh, Now, you win!’  he laughed as he moved to the counter and  picked up the coffee pot to refilled their cups.  After a sip or two he set the cup down and leaned forward to inquire, 

 “What have you planned for dinner?”

“You saw it.  I bought one steak.”

“It looked pretty big to me.”

“I happen to like a Porterhouse.  I’ll slice the cooked fillet side into my scrambled eggs for breakfast.”  Mark stood up and took his cup to the sink.  After rinsing it he put it in the dishwasher. 

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll come help you out.  We can share that big steak, You pick your favorite side. I’ll take the other, so you only need to bake two of those potatoes and make a salad and I will stop at our bakery for some dinner rolls and an apple pie.”   He peeked into the freezer and added, “And some vanilla ice cream. “

Eva was very quiet.  This fellow was just too much and she hadn’t figured out how she felt about that. So she said nothing as he set the time.

“I get off at seven and need an hour to go shower and change, so I’ll be back at eight.”   He gave her a little salute and left without waiting for her to reply.

Eva sat at the table alone giving this day a lot of thought.  When she woke up she was planning on more than a dozen of her best friends to come for their monthly Club Meeting. 

 Later that day she had purchased a large steak.  For some reason she didn’t understand, she had been lied to by at least a couple of those friends , which put the others under suspicion.  Now a man she had never seen before was coming to dinner.  Actually, she was feeling so abandoned and sorry for herself, while in the market that she was sure she could eat that whole steak by herself.  Then she even considered taking herself to a movie, so as not to sit alone on this special day that had collapsed all around her. 

 This day had certainly changed.  And why was Mark the Market guy doing this?  Did she look that pathetic? He was young and good looking with a good job, he must have dozens of girl friends.  Yet the whole thing from volunteering to take me and the food home had been his idea.  Now so was dinner.  Nothing made sense from lying friends to the crazy new manager of the Market as Fern had called him.  Did he invite himself to dinner every night with different new customer?

Eva had to laugh that her turn to have his attention came today of all days. And she had just sat like a, a, you know, a  dumb Blonde! and just let it happen.  Which she wasn’t, no matter what Mark says.

She started to run up stairs for a good hot shower, after that sweaty jog, to pull her mind together.  Just to be able to cope with what today still had in store.

The telephone answer machine’s blinking light caught her eye so she stopped to push the listen button. 

“Hi, this is Barbie I was feeling better so I went out for coffee and ran into Alice. Her son was doing fine and her Mother came to visit and sent her off for cough medicine and she’s staying the week so… Club’s back on for us tonight.  See you then! Bye”

They seemed to have no idea that they would be the only ones. She considered letting them know it was off, but call two came on.

“Hi Eva , my cousin Bella arrived by train last week and we have been very busy with her, and her myriad of Army friends ever since.  Even her old pals from school don’t want to miss her on this visit.  Oh… by the way, this is Kira…”   she decided to announce.  “Anyway, the fuss has died down now,  so we will be coming to Club tonight after all.  Bella does want to see you all again, even though we are from a few earlier grades.”  Kira chuckled, “I forbid her to announce how many.  Anyway we can tell you all about our exciting visit , when we get there tonight.”

Good heavens that is six ladies coming tonight after cancelling.  Now what?  The phone rang and she grabbed it up

“Oh good, you are home .  I was afraid you were out shopping for tonight.”

“Betsy is that you? “  Eva asked to be certain it was her voice that sounded so stressed.

“Yes, yes, of course, I am a wreck today, though. My freezer stopped a day or so ago and I didn’t notice so everything is half thawed.  I thought if you hadn’t planned for tonight yet I might bring over some casseroles to be served to the girls.  There is also a big chocolate cake and some little hors devours I can bring… Tell me I am not too late.”

“No!  That would be wonderful.  I was about to go shopping for tonight.  I’ll owe you when it is your turn.”

“Oh good! Now I just have to decide whether to try to get a repair man or just go buy a new freezer.  Have you any recommends?”

“Not really.  I only have the one on top of my fridge.  So it’s not very big. I’d love a bigger freezer but there is no place in here to put it.”

“Ours is in the garage.”  Betsy explained,  Eva just laughed. 

“Have you seen my garage?   It barely holds my car. I don’t know which I would rather have… a bigger kitchen or a large two car garage,” 

“I’d take the garage any day.”  Betsy replied, “But I know you enjoy cooking and I don’t.  Say, how many will be there tonight? I want to be sure to bring enough.”

“I have some cancelations and some that may or may not come so I really can’t guess.  That is one reason I haven’t planned yet.”

“I’ll just bring plenty.   I can’t keep it anyway.  See you tonight about six…ish.  That will give us an hour to bake the casseroles before the gals get here.”

That just about settled it for Eva.   Old Girl’s Club is definitely on again and so is that Market guy with his pie and ice cream.. If she was sure he could qualify as a “hot date” she might cancel everybody and keep him. What the heck !  It was his idea and if a half a dozen women show up we will just have two more desserts to share.  I should call him off.  But he won’t arrive until 8 o’clock and the girls start wandering in from 7 to 7:30.  By 8 we will be eating. This will just teach him a lesson about inviting himself to dinner.  The buffet will be out and loaded so he won’t starve without steak.  Eva went to the shower wondering how that very forward young man will handle a half dozen or more women.

When the time came for Betsy to arrive with her trays full of foods for the oven, Eva was ready.  She had flowers in vases around on the tables and mantle maybe a bit more than usual.  She dressed up a little nicer than usual in a soft blue skirt with a white silk blouse and pearls.   Her dark hair was brushed to a shine and her make-up was flawless. 

 As she looked into the mirror, she had to admit it was all for the man who was coming.  Old Girl’s  Club was really quite informal.  Why she wanted to impress him escaped her.  He had already seen her as a jogging mess, down in the dumps about the cancellations and what she had seen as deceiving friends, and feeling stupid about needing a ride home.  Why should she care now?

But what she saw in the mirror made her feel better about something.   Perhaps today was more interesting than usual.  Once everyone arrived, it could get even better… or she admitted, worse. The women may feel stifled by a man in the room and Mark could get his ego shattered and leave without even coming in. A shutter ran through her at that thought.   Okay, okay just relax and go with the flow you can manage one way or the other.

Betsy didn’t ring the door bell.  She just walked in the back door loaded down with a heavy tray full of food in baking dishes.

“Oh my goodness, Let me help you.”  Eva rushed to help her set the tray on the table and began to put the dishes of cold food into the already hot oven.  Betsy went out for the cake which went to the desert table with a stack of plates and forks. 

Before Betsy could go back for the snacks, the back door opened and Mark walked in carrying them

“I saw you unloading the back of your wagon and assumed you wanted everything brought in…right?”

‘Yes of course, right,”  Betsy replied, putting out a hand “Thanks I’m Betsy.  I’ll just go close the car .”

“I did that.  Here are your keys and your purse.  I didn’t peek into it, honest”  he smiled.  Every man learns early that women’s purses are secret.”

“Thanks again, you’re a really life saver.”

“You are very welcome.  I’m Mark.”  Betsy eyed him with squinted eyes as she asked tentatively, 

“Aren’t you the new Manager at the little Local Market?”

“That’s me!  So you must be a customer.”

“I am, especially the frozen foods department.  I hate to cook and you have some very good ready meals.”  Betsy pointed to the oven a couple are in there right now.  My freezer quit and as Eva has the Club in tonight, I told her not to cook, which she loves, and help me with my thawed food problem.”

“Oh that is a bad problem to have.  I can help you with that, though.  I have an in with some freezer people.  Do you know what you want?”

“Well yes, something large that fits in my garage.  After that I don’t knowanything about it. Do you have any suggestions?”

Eva was, in spite of dressing up, beginning to feel like wall paper.  Mark had not even yet acknowledged her presence in her own kitchen.

“I’ll give you a good recommendation in the morning.  The store can get you a good discount too.” 

“I’m sure my husband will appreciate that.”  Betsy told him.

   Only then did Mark turn to Eva,  He stood looking her up and down again, making her just as uncomfortable as the first time. Maybe she should have worn flats instead of these super high heels.

“Well… you certainly do clean up nice!” He smiled,  Eva was still trying to decide whether that was an insult in disguise or what? Then she turned it back on him.

“Well…  you now look more like an Executive Store Manager than that Box Boy who brought me home with the groceries.”

“Box Boy did have a lot of fun though, didn’t he?”  Eva glanced around and saw that Betsy had taken the other snacks out to the living room, so decided to let him know what happened.

“I’m afraid I was too stressed out to notice as the Girl’s Club meeting I was going to have got slowly cancelled. Then as I went out to run I saw a couple who told me they or a child were too sick in bed to come…  but there they were sitting and laughing over coffee.  They had lied.  I couldn’t even imagine what was going on.  

After you left this morning,  I noticed the answer Machine and discovered I had messages that some had changed their plans and were coming after all.   Pretty soon about half were planning on being here.  I only bought that one steak and was about to go shopping again when Betsy called offering her thawed food.   And… I’m sorry but I sort of forgot about you.  You may leave or stay.  It’s up to you.”

Mark shook his head slowly in a no, and whispered,

“No you didn’t forget me, Blondie.  I can tell.  Just look at you.  You don’t go through all of that trouble to look so terrific just for those unreliable girl friends.  I noticed that Betsy came casual.”

“Well…  I did want you to know that I don’t always look as bad as I did this morning.”

“I thought you were adorable this morning.  You wore no make-up and looked like a kid, who had been abandoned.  I just had to help you out.”

“I felt like I had been abandoned  and by all of my cancelled friends on the same day.  I was just sorry that you had to see me like that.  And I really did appreciate the help…  Honestly, but I did wonder why you did it.  So anyway, feel free to leave if you like. I will still be a good customer in your store.  And just so you’ll know, remember that I am not a helpless Blonde under my roots, so I won’t be so much trouble from now on.”  

Mark turned toward the door to leave and Eva was disappointed that he wasn’t going to stay, but she had to conduct the Club so it was just as well.  He went out the back and disappeared to the front.

Some of the gals just walked in but this time the door bell rang and Eva went to answer it. Barbie and June were there standing on each side of Mark, who was holding a market bag.

“I went back to my car for the apple pie and ice cream I had left in my trunk ice chest.” Mark explained with a happy smile “And when I came back , I found two of my best customers, June and Barb walking up to your door.  They explained the Old Girl’s Club, but invited me anyway. Is that okay?  If I had known in advance, I could have worn my kilts to fit in better.”

Eva laughed , “And I’ll bet you have them, too.”

“You better believe it!  What else would an O’Neal have?”

Eva took a wild guess at a rhetorical question, “Bagpipes?”

“Yep, those too.  I can even almost play them if you are not too fussy about which melody.”  Barbie stood by and after that remark she told him seriously, 

“Then you had better practice up, Mark O’Neal, you have a month until the next meeting at my house.”   Barbie told him then followed June into the front room.

But Mark paused long enough to add in a whisper.  “I couldn’t leave because, it would have been a shame for you to have gone through the trouble to get all dressed up so nice for nothing, except to put a room full of women to shame.  It takes a man to really appreciate that.” Eva could only smile at that… guys! 

Right after they had eaten Betsy’s hot food and the salad Eva had put together, and a couple of the girls helped her remove the plates, they all got comfortable in the living room to begin, as usual, to take turns recalling the month’s events.    Eva opened the conversation with a provocative question.

“Has anyone some interesting local gossip for us to help spread?  Don’t hold back because we have a male guest tonight,  I assume that someone has learned something of interest, good or bad.  So let’s hear it “  

Rita tentatively, lifted a soft hand , looking to see if someone else was going to speak first, then seeing no one she began…

“If no one else is ready,  I had both a good and a bad experience this month.  It happened only a few days ago in fact.’  She took a big breath as if not sure just where or how to begin.

In the pause, Fay kidded her with a wry comment. “We already know your in-laws came to visit. Nothing could be worse than that!”  They all laughed.  Rita was still struggling to begin and missed the sarcastic point.  She started seriously to tell her story right from the beginning. 

“I was alone in my living room that evening after dinner.  Joe and his folks had taken Peter and Sally with them to visit his T.V. Store and show off the latest improvements.  As I had things to do at home for the meals and stuff I stayed home. But nothing I planned ever got done, because shortly after they pulled away in our car, I heard, right in front of my house, a loud screeching of car brakes together with a frightening, cry and a dull, muffled crash followed by breaking glass, which scared me out of my wits.  Had my family just been in a terrible accident? “  Rita saw that she had everyone’s attention now and began to explain in earnest.  

“I stopped what I was doing and dashed outside where I saw, to my relief, that my family was nowhere to be seen.  Then my sympathy turned to  an old guy getting out of his car, which was stopped right in the center of the street directly in front of me. It had a broken head light still shining, but now hanging dimly down at the asphalt and no other cars were around.  The glass was scattered on the dark street gleaming in the street lights. 

 The poor man looked uninjured but confused, and so was I.  I saw nothing for him to have crashed into.  So I went over to try to find out what he had hit and saw only the badly bent fender and that one broken head light.  The poor guy was almost in shock as I tried to get him to tell me what he hit.  He left me and began to bend low to look under the car and all around it.  Finally he stopped to try to explain in his shaky voice.

“It wasn’t my fault!”  He almost sobbed, “He ran right in front of me and I tried to stop but I couldn’t stop fast enough.  Where could he have gone?

  I heard him Yelp but then when I got out he was gone.  Did you see him at all?”

“No I only heard it and came out to see what happened, but only saw you stopped and getting out of your car.  Who did you see get hit?”

“A very large tan dog.” He held his hand fender high to demonstrate.       “Maybe like a big German Sheppard,  no more like a Boxer or Lab mix, it was so fast he came from that side and almost made it, but then “Yelped loudly as I struck him then he was gone.” He shook his hands as he looked all around in despair.

  The old man, whom I later learned was named, Walt, took a flash light from his glove compartment and began to walk in the direction the dog had been running.   I walked beside him and we looked everywhere… under shrubs and behind fences and under other parked cars.  Finally we found the poor thing stretched out next to the corner storm drain, all bloody and unconscious, but alive.  So Walt went back to drive his car up to see if he could get the dog into it somehow and take him to an Animal Hospital.  I pulled a ragged, oil stained, old towel from a neighbor’s trash barrel and tried to stop the bleeding on his shoulder.  The dog was now lying in a pool of blood.  I’m a little afraid of large dogs, but this one needed help, so I was careful not to annoy him, and perhaps get myself bitten, as I stepped around the pool of blood to get close enough to gently press the cloth against the still bleeding wound.

Walt pulled his car up close and we tried our best,  but it was useless.  The dog was too big and heavy for us to lift up.  Poor Walt just kept telling the dog how sorry he was.  And then explain to me again that it really wasn’t his fault.  The poor guy was beside himself.  I walked away to find someone in the house, whose trash I had just pilfered for a rag to use on the dog, to please call 911 and tell them a dog was in the street dying and to send whoever took care of things like that.  Tell them it was hit by a car and the driver was here helping as best he could.”

Walt sat on the asphalt beside the unconscious animal comforting and talking to it, but it didn’t respond. Then we happily heard sirens.  

A big Red Fire Engine arrived and two men jumped out to look at the injured animal.  A smaller red Ambulance pulled quickly behind it and with four men they rushed to put the dog on a stretcher and inside.   They said they were taking it to the Animal Hospital at 7th and Main, and quickly left.

The Firemen asked Walt to move his car so they could hose down the street and clean the blood into the storm drain.  So we got into Walt’s car and followed the ambulance to the pet hospital.

We sat in the waiting room not talking or anything just exchanging names and turning the pages of old magazines to pass the time until the Vet came out to say that the dog would live.  

“He had quite a few stitches and was not awake yet, but by tomorrow, if all goes well, you can take your dog home.

“But… He’s not my dog!”  We blurted out together.  Walt explained.

“I accidently hit him when he ran so suddenly in front of me.  It wasn’t my fault, but he kept running for a bit and this lady and I had to hunt all the way from her house, where I hit him, to three dark blocks away until we found him.  Then we knew we had to call for help, so we did.”  Walt sighed.  “I’m so glad I didn’t kill him.”  

 I added, in case he hadn’t understood, that we didn’t even know each other.  And I didn’t see anything happen. I just heard it and dashed out.  Of course, I couldn’t leave after finding him until I knew if he would be okay.”  

To finish up the story Rita told us all what Walt did next.

 “Walt asked the Doctor if he would please let him pay the bill before he leaves.  He needed to get his car repaired next.  Then when the dog’s owner shows up, Walt would like him to get to take his dog home without paying anything.”

“So the Vet wrote out a bill and Walt wrote a check and we left.  That is all I know.”  Rita said,   

The ladies were silent for a moment, then Fay asked Rita, “Did the owner find him?”  Rita just shrugged,  “I hope so.”

“What would become of the dog if an owner didn’t claim it?” Kira asked.

“Well, I didn’t ask.  It was a nice well groomed animal.  I just assumed it would be missed and then the Police or the animal people, whoever they are would direct the owner to the Veterinarian.”  Next Barbie chimed in.  

“Will you please find out before the meeting at my house,  We all can’t stand not having an ending to your story,”

As this month’s leader, Eva looked for the next speaker,  and recognized Karen, who stood up to just inform the girls about something that could happen to them.

“We were broken into.  It could have been anyone of us”  she informed the group.  “It could happen to you.” 

“What was stolen?”  

“Nothing very valuable or not replaceable was taken, but we learned that it is very handy to have one of those guard cameras turned on when you leave home.  

It was Tom’s idea, but you all know how he loves those electronic gadgets,”  They all nodded, “So one day in Fry’s, or someplace like it, Tom stopped to just browse, he got to reading the box on this gadget he didn’t have and decided to buy one and try to install it himself.

I just humor his crazy hobbies because they make him so happy while he is puttering with one or the other.  Anyway when I came into the living room there he was sitting and reading, with a bunch of tools out and the new box on the table with all kinds of paper work sitting around, as he kept trying to decide how to go about installing this new item.  

I didn’t even care what it was.  Those little black boxes all look the same to me.  Though I have to tell you I’ve come to like this one. 

 Everything was so topsy-turvy that I hated to remind him that it was his Dad’s birthday and we were expected to go there for dinner that evening, so don’t make us late, okay?  

Soon he called me in to let him explain what he had in mind.  He pointed to the patio door and said it was the most vulnerable entrance to the house and so if he mounted this tiny camera on the ceiling beam opposite it, when turned on,  the whole room would be in view, so a picture would be taken of anyone entering and then even if he went into another room we could see where he went.  Plus we would have proof if he took our computers or the T.V. out when he left.  I kidded with him. “Tom, isn’t that sexist of you to assume that he’s a he?”  

He just laughed and said there was no such thing as a woman Break–in Thief, Pick-pocket maybe. Hooker, of course, but not, Breaking and Entering. That requires tools that most women know nothing about.   

Then as he went back up the ladder to reach where he planned to mount the thing.  I was horrified.  

“Hey that old ladder is dangerous.  There is nothing more dangerous than a rickety ladder.  If you must work up there, please go buy a good ladder.”

“There is not enough time for that.  You just told me not to make us late for my parent’s dinner.  Besides I am very careful. So don’t worry.”

Next time I saw him he was drilling a hole to the attic for the electric wires.  I couldn’t even watch that, so I left to go back to my sewing room.  Humm I guess he is not worried that someone might be going to steal my sewing machine.  Okay, so I wouldn’t mind the excuse to get a new one.

I passed though the living room again on our way out the door all dressed up for the birthday party.   

“Hey, I complained, as I looked around, you sure left this room in a mess! You didn’t even put the ladder back in the garage.”

“I’m not finished.  It will be fine when I finish it tomorrow.  You’ll see!” 

“We went to the party and had a very fun time.  His parents are so thoughtful.  Because it was his Dad’s big “6, 0,”, he gave each of his boys a nice gift of some Bonds he had purchased long ago, so they could start their own retirement plans.”

“What did he give to the girls?” Alice asked.

“They never got around to having any.”  Karen told her.

Then Libby said, “Are you really going to tell us that your house was broken into that first day Tom put the camera in?”

“Yes I am. And it even caught the bad guy for us.”

“How can a camera catch the bad guy?”  Eva asked confused.

“It was like this.  The kid and he was really only a pathetic kid, 19 or 20, without much experience at being a thief, will probably give it up after this.”  

“What happened? “  someone asked “Is he in jail now?” Came from another. 

“What happened is, when we came home he was lying on the floor cradling a broken arm and the leg on that same side bent broken in two places.  He called for help as soon as we opened the door, and all because, as soon as he came in, he saw the stuff on the table and the empty camera box.  So he looked around for the camera and the tiny red light told him it was filming.  He knew it would have taken pictures of him that could put him in jail.  

Then he spotted the ladder against the wall by the fireplace so he moved it to the camera wall and climbed up to try to take the camera down or at least ruin the picture.  Well I could guess that he got all the way up before that rickety ladder gave way and down he came, landing hard on the raised, stone, fireplace hearth.  He was lucky he didn’t hit his head on the edge of that.  It could have killed him.  As it was he could barely move without terrible pain.

“ Call 911 and get me an ambulance!”  he pleaded looking at Tom. 

“I planned to call 911, but I had the Police in mind.”  Tom told him.

“I don’t care!  Just get me some help! The pain is killing me!”  I could see that he had to try very hard to keep from crying… males and their ego!

“I called 911 and explained it to them.  They told me we should not try to move him at all.  Just cover him with a blanket to keep him warm until help arrives.  

We soon could hear the sirens coming closer, so there was nothing else for us to do.  The police arrived at the same time to book him before the medics took over.

We learned that we could really only charge him with breaking in and destroying our best ladder.  The rocks in the hearth were all in good condition, just a little bloody.  And the patio door only had a broken latch, a simple repair. 

 The camera is in fine condition and had filmed the whole event . The fall from the top of the ladder scene was spectacular!”  

“Then Karen laughed, “You won’t believe his.  The kid looked up at Tom’s new camera, as we waited and wondered if we would give him a copy of the pictures it took of him!”  Tom told him,

“Not if you plan to use it to improve on your breaking and entering skills.”
“No, no.  I won’t do that anymore. I promise.  But I always wanted a good shot of me to put on You Tube.”  

We won’t be seeing any more of that kid unless we accidently see him on the Tube.  He lives in the next town.  Since our town authorities have so many good photos of him, he’ll stay away from here, I feel sure.

Eva was amused.  “You both had stories of injuries.  What else happened this month?” 

“I have an injury free story.”  Kira told her.

“Good let’s hear it.”  Alice agreed.  “I would like to know how a story can be as exciting as theirs were without anyone getting hurt.”

“It was like this,”  Kira said, It was just an ordinary day but my cousin Bella, who came home from her last tour in the middle east, had some leave time and came to visit us.  She was very modest and only told us a few things that had happened in Kuwait.”  All eyes went to Bella who sat smiling as the story began.

“A middle east tour that is actually injury free?”  Barbie questioned.  “She is very lucky.” 

“That is true, but not for everyone.  Bella is a Medic and was very busy with injured men and women.  On this occasion she ventured into the battle zone to take care of several who were stranded, which was very dangerous. She saved lives and the fellow soldiers recognized that fact, so she was reported to their superiors, who listened to the stories and talked to the rescued soldiers, then they recommended her for a medal.

After she arrived at our house, she received a notice that she would be awarded that medal upon her return, along with a promotion.

We all congratulated her and with the several friends who had assembled to visit with her, we, my husband Bert and I, decided to call up a few more of her friends and have a big celebration for her the next day.

I called that nice Bakery where they make those special order cakes.  I wanted to get one that was decorated with her Army Squad’s Emblem, so I explained it over the phone.  It wasn’t too difficult and they agreed, then asked how many the cake would need to serve. I told them a lot, maybe 100.  They would deliver the cake on the time we requested.

I was going to cook something simple that could be in the oven and serve buffet style.  Bert ran to the store for drinks and snacks.  Everything was coming together nicely.  I called to have the cake delivered so it would decorate the table.  Bella was up getting ready and we knew she would be surprised when she came down and saw it. 

But Bert and I were the ones who got the surprise.

The delivery boy carried the cake in with a huge box hood over it and placed it on the table I pointed out.  Bert paid the bill and we continued to do what we were doing to get ready.  Bert wrestled with the ice tub for the drinks and I set out stacks of plates, napkins and a rack full of silverware.  I kept glancing at the cake wondering why it was so tall, but I had said it had to feed 100.  So that must be how they did that.

When Bert and I decided to take a look at it, he lifted the top box which was just resting on the large board that held the cake.  Surprise !  It was a beautiful, just gorgeous, white, Wedding Cake, complete with bride and groom in an arch of candy flowers on the top.

The delivery boy was long gone and we were worried, not about our cake, but this one.  Some sweet bride was having her important perfect wedding and her cake was sitting at our house.

I called the bakery, but the delivery truck had not yet returned.  They did tell me that the wedding was over on State Street. We don’t know where the reception is to be, but if we go to the wedding we can ask.  

Bella  walked in and stood in awe of the lovely wedding cake.  

“But who?”

“We don’t know.”  We told her.  “But they will be about to get a cake with your Army Logo on it… We hoped to surprise you, but thought it was better to not surprise the bride, so we were going to take this cake to her.”  Bert put the box back over it and I backed out my station wagon, so Bert could carry the cake to it.  Bella wanted to be involved, so the three of us drove to State Street then began to cruise it looking for a church wedding.

 “ There! That one over on the right!”  Bella called.  So I drove to the front and we got out.  Bert took the cake and lugged it up the wide front stairs.  I pulled open the door and Bella walked in and right back out.

“This is a funeral.”  She said and we went back to the wagon.  Bert put the cake back and we continued to drive.  The next busy church had so many cars in front that we couldn’t park.  I drove up the side and Bert suggested Bella go check it out first.

 “ That cake is heavy.“  he complained.

It was a wedding all right, but Bella reported that they were cutting their cake as she entered.  So we drove some more.  

Then Bert saw it, the parked delivery truck that brought us the wrong cake and must surely have ours still in their van.  Unless, unless, they had just carried it in to the wedding party. 

Bella  jumped out and ran quickly inside.”  Kira stopped talking and turned to Bella, I’ll let my cousin tell you this part.

Bella  stood to tell the part only she knew best.

“I could hear the wedding being pronounced in the church, but I was in a large room piled with gifts and things to be used for a reception.  On a table I recognized a large flat box with the same logo as the one out on the Delivery Van.  So I lifted the lid to peek at it and sure enough my Army insignia was beautifully done in frosting right in the center of the cake.  

So to make things go faster, I picked up the box and was carrying it to our waiting station wagon, when I was stopped by a man in the uniform of the City’s Police.

“Actually this is my cake officer. I’m just taking it to my car.”  I tried to explain.

“Right.”   he said, rolling his eyes “And I’ll bet some of those fancy gifts in there are yours too.”

“No.” I said, “determined to not become sarcastic, just because the officer was.”    But he was insistent.    

“Then just let me take that box until the bride tells me differently.”  He reached for the box and I automatically resisted, the box slipped from my fingers by his stronger grip and he pulled it so hard it flew past him and onto the floor.  The officer rushed to the box and lifted the lid.  The fall had made the top smash together making it unrecognizable.  He swore something I had never heard before, and I’m in the Army!”  The girls all laughed. “ And unexpectedly, before I realized it, he had snapped his cuffs onto my wrists.

“Come with me.”  He said sternly, “And we will try to explain this mess to the bride.”

“She won’t care.  I tell you.  This is…was, my cake and hers is…” But he wouldn’t listen. They went into the large reception room and sought out the bride.  He began at once to incriminate me, by telling her that he had caught me trying to walk out with her wedding cake and when I tried to take it back,”  He admitted, “it fell to the floor.  I don’t think you will recognize it now.”  

The poor unsuspecting bride was horrified, and began to walk quickly to the place where the cake was to be waiting.

Meanwhile, Kira and Bert had tired of waiting outside and Bert picked up the heavy box once more and walked with Kira through the back door they had seen me enter.

Inside they found the cake that was theirs on the floor in somewhat of a mess.  Kira stepped forward to explain her part again.  

“I picked it up and carried the large flat box out to the car.  Bert looked around and seeing only one empty table placed the wedding cake upon it and after removing the cover and taking one last look at the cake to reassure himself it had not suffered with his constant carrying. He followed me back to the car.

We still wondered where Bella  was?  We didn’t see her anywhere in there.

 So Bert sat patiently in the car feeling pleased that the big wedding cake was not going to disappoint the Bride.  I began to try to smooth the cake top and restore the Logo on the cake using…”   Kira laughed,  “sorry, my nail file, the only thing in my purse that came close to a knife”.  Bella, you finished the story.” 

“The officer dragged me along, by the handcuff chain, going and coming, as he was leading the bride out to see the damaged cake.  When we all entered that room, he stopped short in his tracks, mystified, upon seeing the magnificent wedding cake that sat upon the table.  

I, of course, knew how it got there, but the sweet bride smiled. 

“ Oh you!”  She punched the officer’s arm,  “Do you always play that trick on every bride?”  She left smiling and the Officer unhooked the cuffs without even an apology and followed the bride back to his job of guarding the wedding gifts.

 I glanced back as he walked away and I saw him still scratching his head, probably wondering how that little thief, me, had pulled off the switch.

I rushed back to the parked car and found Kira doing a pretty good job of moving the icing around to make the Army logo passable.”  She looked at her cousin and admitted… “She did a pretty good job of it. And we had our own wonderful party and no one will ever tell that Officer how it happened.  Just let him wonder.”  Both women sat back down bowing to applause and to await any further stories.

“ Eva joked with the girls, “I guess a slightly injured cake doesn’t count as an injury.  But I have a little short story. No injury unless hurt feelings matter.  So I will tell you this one about all of you that happened just today, starting first thing this morning.

  When I woke up my first thought was that today was the day we all meet at my house. I was very excited about that. I am every month, but we had not met at my house for almost a year.  So I wanted to think of something special to do for you.”

“We’re glad you remembered,”  Someone said.

“Oh really, well then why was it that you all cancelled?”  Eva looked at all of the puzzled faces.  That’s right each of you know that you did call and tell me that you were not going to be able to make here tonight.  

What you didn’t know was that all of you cancelled. Everyone of you had a perfectly good excuse to not be here this evening.  There was not one I could argue with.  

I had been so excited about my evening to host you, that now I was equally disappointed. And went out for a jog to get over it.  As I ran by I saw two of you having coffee together, when you could not be there if your excuses had any truth to them.

 Now I had a reason to not trust any of your stories and felt sad about being lied to and wondered what I did to cause none of you to want to come to my house.

 After my helpful jog in the Park, I stopped at the market and loaded up on groceries and comfort foods, forgetting that I had walked and could not carry them all home. So I asked the Manager if they delivered.  And he kindly brought me home with all of my loaded grocery bags.”  

She smiled at Mark.  “He said I looked so sad and abandoned that he just had to do it.”

“But look around! Here you all are!  What happened?  Why are you all here after cancelling?  Did you get together and decide to play a trick on me?  Or is it possible that this many women can all have two changes of heart and reverse their plans on the exact same day.  Well, let me end by asking this.  

If any of you know the answer to that, please let me in on it. But I really don’t care. Because of a bunch of fickle women, who can’t seem to decide what they are doing from minute to minute, I have met and found a very nice new friend who works for our Local Market. Right, You guessed.  It’s, Mark O’Neal.

So if you are wondering what Mark is doing here at a “Girl’s Meeting”, he was invited to dinner by me, when I didn’t have any other commitments. He walked in expecting dinner for two, but has been a very good sport.

All of the rest of you are the ones who were unexpected this evening, even though I love you all dearly and am very happy that you came.  I can’t help wondering what will happen next month and I’ll bet Barbie, with next month’s meeting at her house circled on her calendar, does too. 

Unless…  Oh well, that is up to all of you.


By Beverly Mosier     April 2014