by Grammar Hawk
Why I don't work.
|I don't care what anyone says, it happened. And I know it happened because it happened to me.
It was a normal Friday about thirty years ago. My mother was in the kitchen cooking dinner. Back then, most women didn't work outside the home, so she had spent the day making homemade noodles and was stirring them into a big pot of chicken broth. Fried chicken was already stacked high on a large platter, and another pot was full of fresh green beans steaming in just the tiniest amount of water.
While my two brothers and two sisters set the table for the seven of us, my mother had me cut the biscuits from the fresh dough and arrange them on a cookie sheet for the oven. The second my dad walked in the door, it was my job to pop the biscuits in the oven.
At exactly six o'clock, we all heard the sound of my dad's van pulling into the garage. As he came in the door, the whole house was chaos. I was at the oven, my mother was draining the noodles and beans and setting everything on the table. Mike was chasing Ron around the living room, trying to get his Boy Scout sash back from our little brother so he could go to his meeting right after supper. Lisa had finished her part of setting the table and was yelling at Mary to finish getting the butter and salt and pepper out of the cupboard. Coffee perked, kids yelled, Ron screamed Mike was killing him. Dad came in, hung his coat in the closet, and just smiled at the whole thing. Life was totally normal in our house.
As I peeked at the biscuits, over the din of five kids, we all heard the phone ring. Silence descended instantly. One short, two long. It was our ring on the party line. We had a phone call! Very slowly, my dad got up and went to the shiny black phone perched importantly on the top of the desk. We all waited silently.
"Hello….yes….OK." The receiver was replaced on the base. "Ted's coming out." Dad said to mom. Uncle Ted, dad's youngest brother, lived in town and was going to visit us. We all thought Ted was rich. He was a car salesman at the Ford dealership and lived in Grandma's house with her, his wife, and his three kids. It had to be important for him to come all the way out in the country to see us this time of night.
The smell of biscuits getting close to overdone brought me back to what I was supposed to be doing.
Ten minutes later, the seven of us were seated in our usual places at the table. I was sitting next to our dad. I guess being the first girl made me his favorite since he always wanted me to sit there, but he never said anything else about it. The girls sat on the same side of the long table as me, the boys across from us, and Mom was at the other end, ready to help the little kids with their meat.
We were just digging in to the delicious food when Ted walked in the back door. He didn't knock and no one expected him to. Family was family and family never knocked.
Mom invited him to join us, but after taking a look at the food, he said his wife was waiting supper for him at home. We all knew he wasn't the type to eat homemade noodles. Once when we went to their house for a special dinner, they served stuff like chicken cordon bleu and fettuccini Alfredo. Homemade noodles with butter on them wasn't up to his taste.
Dad had to get up and talk to Ted while his food got cold. I didn't like to think of my dad eating cold food even if it was for family.
"What can I do for you, Ted?" Even though Ted was the baby of the family, dad always treated him like he was important.
"I've been fixing up that spare room in the basement and I need to replace the glass in that old mirror." Ted was talking about a mirror Grandpa had taken as payment for auctioneering at a foreclosure sale back during the Depression. "I hate to wait till Monday for the hardware store to open, so I was wondering if you might have a glass cutter I could borrow." Ted knew Dad had every tool he could ever want since he was a general handyman and carpenter. Once, I heard Mom say Ted was rich because he was too cheap to buy his own tools.
"Sure, Ted, I've got one. Just don't know where it is off hand." Dad scratched his head as he started thinking about where the cutter was. It looked funny to see him scratching his bald head the way most men scratched a full head of hair.
"No hurry, I can wait." Ted pulled out a chair and sat down. All I could think was dad's food was getting cold. Suddenly, I did something we were told to never do. I interrupted grown-ups!
"It's at the back of the top shelf in the middle cupboard." Everybody in the room looked at me like I had just grown a second head. Not only had I interrupted grown-ups, but they knew I couldn't know what was on that shelf because it was a good foot over my head and we were forbidden to climb up there.
"It can't be. I used it in the garage last week. It's out there." I didn’t argue with dad. He got up and went out to the garage. Ted went with him.
"Linda! What in the world got into you? What makes you think the cutter is up there?"
"I don't know, Mom. I just know it is. I think I dreamed it." Mike laughed so hard he almost fell of his chair. The other kids were laughing, too, but Mom wasn't. She was getting all red and I knew there was going to be trouble. She got up from the table and I knew I was going to get it as she walked toward my chair. Instead of hitting me, she just walked to the cupboard and used chair so she could climb up and see the back of the top shelf. She rummaged around a while, then slowly came off the chair with something in her hand. She didn't say a word as she walked out to the garage. Nobody said a word for the rest of the meal.
There were some strange looks between Mom and Dad while we ate in silence, but when we got up to do the dishes and for Mom to take Mike to Scouts, everything seemed back to normal. No one in the family mentioned my dream ever again.
Over the next thirty years, I've had lots of dreams that told me where to find missing items. When I was 19, I had one that said there was a bag hidden under a dead tree in the woods behind our house. I never told anyone, but that bag had $7,000 in it. That was the first time I found 'lost' money. I'm getting good at it now. Sometimes it's only a few hundred. Once it was almost $25,000. Sometimes, people ask me why I don't have a regular job. I tell them I'm independently wealthy. They believe that a lot more than they would believe I'm psychic.