Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Birthday Party

"You forgot Aunt Agatha?"

The questioner seemed incredulous.

"I did not forget her. I just got busy and remembered a little late."

"But she will be here in an hour!"

How Katie always worries. I knew I could fix this problem. I knew just what to do. I went to the garage, dusted off an old sign, and put it up near the mailbox.

"I don't see how having a garage sale at this hour of the day is a good idea," stated Katie blankly. "And what about our aunt?"

"It'll all work out in the end," I said. "Now let's find her some gifts."

The desk drawer yielded a new pad of paper and some fine unused pens. My purse closet held several purses I had yet to use, from which I chose a simple black handbag. I hadn't yet opened two bottles of lotion, so I put one into the bag and wrapped it all up together.

"Okay," said Katie, "so you've gotten a gift. What about cake? Decorations? Guests? And she's coming in half an hour."

The doorbell interrupted.

"Is this the garage sale?" A lady of fifty or more, gracious and intelligent, peered from under a blue sun visor.

"Do come in," I said.

The lady looked around, wondering what was for sale. I let her wonder.

"Have a seat," I said, motioning toward the table. "This garage sale has refreshments."

The doorbell rang again. I motioned Katie to answer it and went into the kitchen to see what I could do. The doorbell rang twice more in the ten minutes it took me to peel and slice a tray of cheese and fruit. By the time I returned to the table Katie had them all seated, looking a bit bewildered. I placed it upon the table and strode hurriedly to the closet.

Some of the leftover Christmas and New Years decorations were generic enough for anytime festivity. I picked the plainest ones.

"I've almost got the sale ready," I explained to the ladies as I danced about with my decorating. "I apologize for not getting my ducks in a row sooner. Thanks for your patience."

I sneaked out the back door on tip toe to the mailbox and back, and stowed the garage sale sign in the nearest closet.

The doorbell rang.

"Aunt Agatha! Come in!" said Katie.

"Right in here!" I hollered over her shoulder. The aunt slowly made her way to the table. She sat down heavily and smiled.

"I'll be right back," I said. I ran into the other room, brought out all the purses, and told the ladies to choose one, on the house. Soon everyone was smiling and clutching a clean, new, fresh scented handbag. My aunt opened her gifts. She seemed pleased.

Soon everyone ate and was done, and I thanked the ladies and bade them farewell. My aunt was the last to go.

"Thank you," she said in her usual thick and winded voice. "I know I'm terrible with names, and you were so good not to embarrass me about it. You two are my best nieces."

We both smiled and watched her leave, relieved.

"Next year," said Katie, "I'm having her to my house."

"Let me know if you need any last minute ideas," I grinned.

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