The Adventures of Ellie Whitehaire continues...
|Ellie jumped out of her whitewashed, iron-rail bed. A car horn was blowing outside her bedroom window. In a moment of panic she fell to the dusty wooden floor and yelled, “Hold on, Connie, I’m a comin’!”
The horn continued to sound as Ellie strew through a cardboard box of shirts, pants, socks and underwear went flying across the room. Some clung to the ceiling fan while others landed on Tommy’s head.
Ellie yipped “Tommy! Git yur’ dang-gone, drunken be-hind outa bed!”
Tommy didn’t move. The moonshine, still running through his veins, kept him in a comma-like state.
The horn was still blowing.
Ellie went to the windowsill; flung it open and yelled “I told ya I’m a comin'!”
She could see smoke billowing up from the tail pipe of Connie’s 1985 Chevy Chevette. To avoid inhaling the pungent exhaust fumes, she covered her nose and mouth with one of the socks she was about to put on. She thought to herself… Connie needs to git her sloth-of-a-husband to fix that dawg-gone hunk-a-junk. He never did repair the rusted-out frame on it.
Jumping across the room from one foot to the other, Elli slipped on her best pair of shoes. She noticed a strip of masking tape marked ”fifty cents,” on the sole of her right one. Using her fingernail she gently lifted the tape without tearing it. Looking around the room she found a pair of shoes she was planning to sell at her yard sale next month. The tape was still sticky and with that secret Whitehaire marketing technique she gave them a proper tagging.
A smile graced her face and she thought…granny would be proud.
Connie was still blowing the horn when Ellie yanked the back-seat door open. Two empty, plastic jugs rolled out onto the ground, along with a few candy wrappers and a couple grocery store receipts. Ellie shoved an over-stuffed black garbage bag that was full of clothes to the other side of the seat--hopped in and asked, “Where in the heck did all these clothes come from?”
Connie took a long, hard drag off of her cigarette, and while exhaling the smoke she answered in a deep raspy voice, “Preacher Dan’s house. I stopped there…”
Ellie interrupted, “I told ya…I wanted to git there first. I’m the one who seen it in the sale paper! I jus’ new you were goin’ to do this.”
Connie looked at Ellie through her rear view mirror and replied, “Don’t ya go yellin’ at me…there must of bin’ twenty or so folks there when I rode by on my way over here.”
Ellie gave Connie the infamous Whitehaire glare back through the rear view mirror.
"That's jus' fine and dandy" she snapped! Now don’t ya go askin’ me to search for a single gad-darn thing fur’ ya today.”
Connie flicked her cigarette out onto a dandelion patch and sipped her coffee from a Git-er-dun' coffee mug. Then she pointed her nicotine-stained finger at the rear view mirror and said, “Don’t be thinking you ain’t never dun somethin’ like this before…member last years’ church basement sale. Maybe you should be thinkin’ that ya had it comin’.”
Ellie stared out the door window, sighed and said, “Are ya lookin’ fur anything in par-tic-u-lar, cousin Connie?”
Ellie’s sister-in-law Tina finally spoke up and asked, “ Are you all goin’ to be arguing like this all day? Cause I’ll jus’ go yard salin’ by my own self.”
Tina was never at loss for words. Here tiny demeanor was over-shadowed by her long, kinky red hair and redhead attitude. At times, the family claimed fire poured from her lips if she was taunted enough.
Connie warned, “Don’t git-er’ started Ellie.”
Elli replied, “Jus’ git this car movin’, it’s seven o’clock and the mornin’s fadin’ fast.”
Connie placed the car in drive. After long whine of the transmission, a forward sudden jolt and a bang from the exhaust, they were off.
Springtime, on Poes Belton Mountain, was recognized by the lime-green buds, that peppered the maple tree limbs, yearning daffodils lining the forests edge, fresh tilled fields that flowed like a muddy river and yard sales with all their treasures waiting to be bought.
Tina asked, “Are we goin’ near town? I heard tell that the may-yers’ wife has been out shoppin’ for new furniture, and she would be sellin’ her old stuff at er’ house today.”
Connie smacked her tongue against the top of her mouth in an effort to secure her dentures and said, “Well …if that is the word you can bet yur’ be-hind it won’t be cheap.”
Ellie began to dig through her purse and yelled, “Hot dawg! I furgot’ I put fifty dawllers’ back from my bingo winnins’ last week. I could shur’ use a new kitchen table."
Tina replied, “It’s the may-yers house then.”
Connie made a u-turn at Scoop’s fuel station and headed towards town. The three of them planned a strategy for getting the best price. This usually included switching price tags or removing them all together. It seemed to work, and they loved the drive home with all their treasures crammed in the back of the chevette. Bragging rights, in most cases, were obvious. Just last week, Ellie bought some wall border that matched her kitchen perfectly.
The rumors were correct. The driveway at the mayors’ house was full, and a store-bought sign that displayed, “Garage Sale” hung from the front porch.
Connie put her car in park, flicked her cigarette and said, “Lock yur’ doors. I’m gonna leave my smokes in the car.”
The three of them made a quick trek to the back of the house. Their eyes grew wide and Tina said, “I told ya so. Look she’s sellin’ clothes too. My Lord…BEANIE BABIES!”
Connie said, “Look at all those perty’ fake flowers.”
Ellie exclaimed, “Two kitchin’ tables”
The three of them dug through the trappings and collected a king’s ransom. They met together to initiate their pricing strategy when fate came to call once again.
A little girl pulled on Tina’s shirt. Her face was dirty and her eyes welled up with tears.
Tina bent down and asked, “ What’s a matter sweetie?”
The little girl pointed at the beanie babies and sobbed.
Connie noticed the girls’ mother asking the mayors’ wife if she could do some cleaning for her in exchange for some childrens' clothes.
The mayors’ wife responded with disgust, “ The posted sign reads “Garage Sale,” not charity house. Not get your dirty little kids and go on home.”
Ellie saw Tina’s’ eyes turn red and said, “Easy sis, she is jus’ some no-account snob anyway. Besides I have a better idea.”
The three of them dropped their prized collections, and went searching for an even bigger treasure. They gathered boxes full of clothing, toys and beanie babies, and then did their ritual changing of the prices. They then purchased the items from the mayors’ wife and snickered as she said, “I thought we marked these beanie babies one dollar not ten cents.”
Ellie went to the little girls mother and said, “My kin and I would very much like to give ya this stuff, if that’s alright by you?”
The mother slowly lowered her face and with a fragile voice said, “God Bless ya’ mam.”
The little girl, now with a twinkle in her eye, waved her beanie baby and said very simply, “Thank ya’.”
Ellie looked at Connie and said, “I hope I win again at bingo this Sunday.”