Today is a red-letter day for me. I always felt a stab of jealousy when I saw people in coffee shops working on their computers. I have always been too busy or too preoccupied to settle into a seat at a cozy coffee shop and spend the morning typing away at a project. But today that is exactly what I am doing. I am at the sunny Dynamite Coffee Shop with vinyl spinning behind me as I write this newsletter.
I feel great! It is the season I love most. More than the holidays themselves, I love the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe it’s the extra coffee I consume, but I feel a sense of excitement in the air. Thanksgiving is next week and already the public works men in Black Mountain are hanging the holiday decorations from the light poles, and shopkeepers are covering their stores with evergreen branches and lights. I have already started amaryllis and paper white bulbs and am anticipating the big, bright red flowers and the very fragrant white ones. Some people don’t like the smell of paper whites, but I love it. So if you are one of those smell-averse people, watch the windows for blooming paper whites and then either stay away or wear nose plugs. So there!
On to 44 Cherry Street…my on-going serial about the going-on of the FICTIONAL residents of an imaginery apartment building in the middle of Cherry Street.
Last week, Lorraine was getting ready for her trip to Texas to visit her judgmental older sisters, and she stumbled onto a Codependents Anonymous meeting in the Old Depot.
Lorraine left the Old Depot and felt sorry for the people she had met at the Codependents Anonymous Meeting. They cared way too much about what other people thought about them. Lorraine couldn’t care less about what others thought about her. She was her own person. She laid her concerns aside, though. Now she had to hurry back to her apartment at 44 Cherry Street to get ready for her trip. There was so much to do. She thought that perhaps she might check in at the office of the new realty company she had just joined, but that would have to wait. Frankly, there were more important matters on her plate. Yes, she was very short of money, but she still had her credit cards and would make due with those. She had forgotten to buy gifts for the family at the Old Depot, but that actually left her with more money to spend on getting herself looking her best before she arrived in Texas. First things first!
Lorraine had not seen her sisters for years. First, they all lived in Texas, which was far away. Second, they didn’t want to travel, and as a result, they never came to see her. Even though they were “family” and all that, she shuddered when she thought about her sisters. The last time she saw them, they were already stout and blue-haired, and set in their ways. They must have gone to the same hair salon as they shared identical tight blue-grey curls. Their clothing came from Dress Barn, the store of choice for suburban women of a certain heft. If only they had a Lane Bryant nearby, they might have enjoyed shopping there and perhaps been a little more fashionable. Their footwear tended towards lace-up black nun’s shoes. They had gravelly voices like Marge Simpson’s sisters from years of smoking, and pursed lips from judging others.
Lorraine was very proud of her wild black hair which framed her face beautifully. She was religious in her use of expensive face creams and make-up, so she looked much younger that her 75 years. Even though her size 4 clothes were binding, she still squeezed into them and chose clothing that hid her waist anyway. With her glasses off, she appeared 45 when she looked in the mirror, especially with dim lighting.
Once in her apartment, Lorraine laid out the outfits she needed to pack. She had some stunning clothing from 2 on Crescent, her favorite store in Asheville. They carried a line of Eileen Fisher and would call Lorraine when a new shipment arrived and would set aside pieces they thought she would like. She didn’t want to disappoint these clerks, so she would always buy what they had set aside, even if they weren’t exactly right, and even if she couldn’t afford them. Some of the clothes on her bed stilll had the tags on them. She quickly cut these off, as she couldn’t let her sisters see how much she spent on clothes. The only thing she lacked was a new pair of Ugg boots. She bought a new pair every year at Tops, and last year’s pair had already been given to Goodwill. Yes, it would be hot in Texas, but she loved her Uggs, and fashion knows no pain.
She made up her shopping list. Ugg boots, of course. Pea-protein powder for her daily shakes. A new overnight travel bag for carry-on. A new purse to match the new bag. A new travel pillow to match the bag and the purse. A new Eileen Fisher scarf to coordinate the bags and her outfits. Travel-size make-up and toiletries. A new make-up pouch to match all the above. And if there was any money left, a few gifts for the family.
She was very conscious of the fact that her sisters judged her unfairly. They told her she was superficial, too liberal, too concerned about her appearance, a show-off, and misguided in her religious practice. She was active in the Episcopal Church and they were Catholic. She loved her church and was very involved in the diocese. She loved the fact that they always kept a bar at church, which made meetings so much fun. The worst thing of all, though, that her sisters told her was that she was too fat. Imagine those cows judging her! How dare they. But as she was definitely not codependent, she didn’t care what they thought of her.
She decided to add some Spanx to her shopping list.