Thursday, January 31, 2013

rolling up and down the hills

The dread cookies have arrived.

They are delicious, I will give them that. But they irk and annoy me, and there is a mountain of them in my garage.

I don’t like selling things. I never liked selling things. I am clearly not the cadet in the family, but unfortunately 11 is a bit young to be pounding the pavement solo. Sending them out alone is against the girl scout code or something, whatever.  It’s not like I looked it up. cough.

So last Sunday, my girl and I geared up and set out to hit the streets and pimp some cookies. It was slow going, but I can’t explain all the details about the pesky obstacles we faced on the road to our success, because although 11 is too young to make sales on the street, it’s too old to be made fun of on your mom’s blog. It wouldn’t be right for me to tease my sweet girl about the complicated schema of observable details that rendered seemingly random houses unapproachable. Let’s just say that she skipped many houses.

After almost two hours, sales were slow and we were tired. I was the sherpa lugging the wagon, which was supposed to be growing lighter as the boxes flew into our wealthy neighbors’ hungry pieholes.  Our neighborhood is hilly with high curbs, and after a while I got tired of moving to driveway ramps to cross each street and I just started blowing over the curbs, much to my girl’s despair. I reassured her that the wagon could take it, Jidoo built that wagon and Jiddo built things strong.  

It was tempting to call it a day and head toward home, but that would mean having to find another way to rid ourselves of the mountains in the garage. We talked about it as we approached a crossroads, then as we agreed to soldier on, an old man and his little dog turned the corner towards us.    

My girl got right down on the ground to frolic with the mange beast, and I chatted with the man. He told us that the dog had been abused and was nervous, but of course my girl was gentle and sweet and won his little rat-sized heart right over. The old man commented about the cookie mobile, not for its wares but for what lay beneath. I told him that my dad built the wagon when my first child was born 14 years ago. He nodded his appreciation, noting the clever design and fine touches. It was a nice moment. We all smiled. As we started to move along, he said he’d like to buy some cookies, but then he realized he didn’t have his wallet. He pointed up the hill to where he lived, told us to circle back that way and hit him up. We moved on.

My girl asked if/why I was crying.

I miss my dad.

We got to the end of the block and looked back at that hill, we wondered for a minute if he really cared whether or not we came back. By the time we finished wondering, we were at his house and could see him in the window, watching for us. He came out and bought a few boxes, wished us a great day.    

We felt renewed, and pushed on for a while longer before heading back toward our street. As we approached the last turn, a car pulled over and the driver rolled down the window to talk to us. She was an older woman, she said she’d been waiting for someone to come and sell her cookies, her son was coming over and her neighbor’s wife was sick and he was afraid he’d missed his chance to buy some. We didn’t quite know what the heck she was talking about, but it seemed really important to her that we agree to come to her block. She gave us her address and insisted that we write down her neighbor’s phone number. They lived at the big cul de sac at the very bottom of a very large hill, so I told the woman that we’d drive over with cookies for her and her neighbor.

We went home, did our Sunday thing, I sat outside in the sun and got sucked in to my book and started dinner. There was some drama with the garage door and we had to call a repairman to protect the valuable mountain of confections, and yada yada yada. When it was started to get dark, I remembered the promise we made, and we gathered up some inventory and got in the car.

We found the lady’s house, and she was expecting us. It was weird, her whole family was there and the son she had been so concerned about providing cookies for informed her that the next door neighbor also had a mountain in her garage, so….awkward. They were cool, though. They bought a bunch of boxes and pointed us in the direction of the neighbor she had mentioned. There was some really boring back story she kept telling about how he though it was the last day to get cookies but it was really the first day to get cookies and the dogs were yapping and there were so many people and finally we got out of there.

The neighbor was on the next block, they had adjoining back yards. We found the house and the door sprung open the second we knocked. He had been waiting for us. We walked in and saw his wife, who the lady in the car had mentioned was sick, and was clearly nearing the end in a hospital bed facing the huge windows open to the canyon. I guess there was a time when an 11 year old wouldn’t know cancer when she saw it, but there were no questions on this day. Her husband told us about her. She had been a girl scout troop leader, and one time when she got to camp she busted her co-chaperones with booze in their thermoses and kicked them all out. They volunteered at the maritime center museum. They’d always had cats, but none of them ever liked him before this one, who stayed glued to his side and only stepped away to roll and present his belly for my girl to rub. He bought 14 boxes of cookies, we had to go home and restock to fill his order. He made us promise to come back any time we had anything to sell, even if it was “something stupid for school.”

My girl and I held hands as we walked back to the car.

I love selling girl scout cookies.      


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Aw, I miss Dad.

That wagon is so killer. What a perfect job for it. And your little scout is pretty killer too.

What a day you had, Jacquie. I love all the interesting neighbors, and you being (as per) bored by someone's irrelevant details (what a surprise!) and your girl rubbing every beast's belly.

Feel like I was rolling up and down those hills with you two......


Love you,

Beth said...

Oh my, sniff, tears so early in the day.

How touching that girl scout cookies, and the memories that they revive, and the present day girl scouts that are peddling them, bring up such nostalgia and warm feelings in so many peeps.

It *almost* makes me wish I had some boxes to sell ;)

Love you and your animal-whisperer scout.


MB said...

Love Dad's wagon, and love your adorable girl. And now I'm craving Thin Mints... xo

mom said...

I love every word of this Jacquie, and I'm with you Beth - the tears show up when you least expect them. love, mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I love that, Beth: "you and your animal-whisperer scout".


Shelbs said...

After a somewhat crappy day this post made me cry and smile. Thanks, Jacque (and C)!

Mistah said...

So Beautiful!

Unknown said...

Love this one!!


Hsin-Yi said...

That was so lovely to read.