June 23, 2009
I know for a fact that grown men whimper. I don’t remember the first time I ever heard Jeff whimper, but I think it probably had something to do with some expensive Dale Earnhardt die-cast replicated racecar. I do remember one of the last times I heard it, though.
Kmart was closing down locations and somehow we found ourselves in Monroe, and at a nearly done-in store. The place was a disaster, and worse was watching people take things off shelves and drop them on the floor after looking at them. I was just about to drag him from the madhouse scene when we turned down an aisle with – gasp – tools!
“Oooooo,” he murmured, eyes wide. I don’t know how he saw it but stacked behind some really traumatized boxes was a brand new scroll saw with its own folding workbench. He dragged it out and inspected it very carefully for any signs that it might have been opened before. They he cautiously looked at the ”before and after” mark-down pricelist taped to the display.
“Oooooo,” he gasped, viewing the sign with wider eyes still. I could see dreamy dollar signs reflecting in his glazed over look. “How much?” I asked. “It was $215.00,” he marveled. “How much?” I asked. “It was already marked down once to $115.00,” he cooed.
“Jeff!” I snapped my fingers hoping to bring him back, but he was clearly already swirling into the “I don’t think I can live without this piece of equipment” abyss. “How much,” I asked again.
“$62.50,” he tentatively smiled as he loving patted the box. “I don’t know Jeff,” I hedged. “What would you use it for?” “Lots of things,” he insisted. “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” I said trying to let him down easy, and knowing he would probably bow to my logic.
That’s when I heard it. The whimper. I was so surprised I stopped right in my tracks and turned to stare at him. The whimper came with a face I had never seen before. Eyes still foggy with scroll-lust, bottom lip tucked in under his teeth, one hand still touching the sacred saw, he barely shuffled away from the display. Then he whimpered again.
“Ok,” I said. “Throw it in the cart. “And quit smiling like that,” I grumbled. “You’re going to split your face wide open, and I don’t want to spend another night in the Emergency Room with you!”
So, that’s how the scroll saw came to live in the computer room closet. Jeff read the manual, but that’s as far as he got. His legs were giving out and we had other things to concentrate on. And that’s how the scroll saw ended up in my recent “moving” sale. It didn’t make it out of the closet until the second day of the sale because I had imagined it would be harder to retrieve than it turned out to be. I marked it at $50.00 thinking it was a fair price. I no longer had the box or the manual, but maybe someone would know what to do with it anyway.
A little after 3:00 pm on the last day, a young couple came in. “Hmmm,” the husband commented. “Honey, look at this!” “What is it?” she asked. “A scroll saw, just like the one I rented last week for $85.00. I could buy this one and we’d never have to rent one again.” “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” she replied and moved on to look at other items. The fellow just stood there mesmerized.
Knowing I’d never use it and not wanting to struggle it back into the closet, I whispered to my cohort, “He can have it for $35.00.” Because she’s the outgoing one who has no problem dickering with yard sale customers, she announced my offer loudly from her perch near the cashbox, adding the key phrase, “It’s never been used!”
That’s when I heard it. The whimper. I laughed out loud, and then whispered to my friend, “That’s the same exact sound Jeff made when we bought that thing!” He looked at his wife beseechingly, and she slowly nodded her approval. As he stood there holding the saw, he told us that he and his wife were renovating their home. “Thank you so much. Thank you so much,” he kept repeating.
“Never been used,” my friend repeated as he headed out the door. “Her husband passed,” she called after him, stopping him on the threshold of exiting. I really thought he was going to cry as he turned to stare at me. “It will get put to good use,” he said in a quivering voice. “I promise it will get used.”
So what was that scroll saw really worth: $215.00, $115.00, $62.50, $50.00 or $35.00?
Making Jeff happy, which made me happy, which made that family happy: sacredly priceless.
I may have lost a little money on that deal, but I have blessedly gained another true insight into the non-coincidences of GOD’s careful plans.
Posted by jaselin at June 23, 2009 07:56 PM