By COLLEEN LEDDY
I knew, as soon as the car pulled out of the driveway, that I had left the cell phone in the house. But I figured I was with David and the kids were all wherever they were—I didn’t need to worry about anybody.
So, I didn’t yell, “Wait a minute! I forgot something,” as I am wont to do whenever we set out on any journey. This journey was only to Sylvania for dinner and then the mall to buy a present for our future daughter-in-law’s lingerie shower.
It wasn’t until we passed by the Sarnacs’ house on Morenci Road, that it hit me—I need that phone to consult with Rozee or Maddie about what to buy Sarah. I knew we had exceeded the distance beyond which David would be willing to backtrack, so I kept quiet.
After dinner, we headed to the mall, but David couldn’t be budged to come inside and help me with this purchase at Victoria’s Secret.
“What do I know about lingerie?” I asked. “What the heck is lingerie, anyway?”
“Pajamas,” he said.
“C’mon, come with me!” I begged. But he begged off, and settled in with the only book I had brought with me, “The Borrowers.”
I berated myself for forgetting the cell phone—Rozee or Maddie would have talked me through this task, guiding me to the right garments—instead, poor Sarah would be faced with trying to act pleased about whatever I picked out. I rationalized that she could return the purchase, but I didn’t want to burden her with the hassle.
I entered the store through the collegiate clothing section and immediately was drawn to a cottony looking pink striped little dress sort of thing with ruffles. It looked like something Sarah would like.
Then the clerk asked me what I was shopping for today and instead replying with my usual, “Oh, I’m just looking,” I figured I could use any help I could get—obviously, none would be forthcoming from my husband.
I told her I was shopping for my future daughter-in-law’s lingerie shower and she directed me to the next section—the land of “Holey Moley!”
I almost burst out laughing. I could not see myself buying a, a, uh, aw, heck, I don’t know what the heck they are called, but they are full of lace and ribbons and black netty stuff and cover the torso of a woman’s body.
I was just about in the “get me out of here” stage, contemplating sending Maddie to the mall in Ann Arbor to do my bidding, when I discovered a few more rooms of more modest undergarments.
I was fingering one skimpy little thing when a man sidled up to me and burped in my ear. It almost brought the Bronx out of me, but I recognized the burp as that of my husband.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Your book wasn’t any good,” he said.
“What do you think of this for Sarah?” I asked, holding out a skimpy thing that didn’t seem quite like a slip, but I don’t know what else it would be called.
“Yeah, that looks like Sarah,” he said decisively.
That was all the endorsement I needed and we headed for the checkout counter, choosing the faster-looking of two lines. Then something caught my eye and I handed David the garment.
“Here, hold this and stand in line,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”
I walked over to look at something else that looked like Sarah and suddenly a man was by my side, whispering in my ear.
The man, of course, was my husband—not standing in line.
“What the heck are you doing?” I asked.
I turned to the line. “Look at that! Two more people are in front of us now! You were supposed to stand there and hold my place in line!”
I couldn’t believe it! Rozee and Maddie would never do something like that!
“Are you in a hurry or something?” he asked, which brought me up short, because, no, I wasn’t in a hurry.
Still, I didn’t want to spend time standing in line at Victoria’s Secret when I could be standing in line at Handel’s ice cream store for a mint chocolate chip Handel Pop, the nearest thing to heaven.
He was right, there was no reason to be ticked off at him, so I let go of his shirt, stopped beating him up over wayward shopping behavior and we made it out of the mall without further incident.
“What the heck did I buy anyway?” I asked David on our way to the car.
“Pajamas,” he said.
When Sarah opens this present and says, “Thank you,” I’m going to use one of Liz Stella’s famous lines, uttered whenever she gives something wonderful such as a loaf of her homemade bread and honey, downplaying her generosity.
“Oh, it’s just a little bit of nuthin’!”