While spending a week with Aunt Rene
Zayre’s Department Store
Many summers ago
Aunt Rene: Here’s two quarters for you, Darlin’. Don’t they shine pretty? You can almost put your lipstick on looking’ in ’em. With these two quarters, you can buy anything you want in this store . . . as long as it doesn’t cost more than 50 cents.
Jeanne: This is what I want, Aunt Rene.
Aunt Rene: Little Women. You want a book?
Jeanne: Yes ma’am.
Aunt Rene: Sure is a thick book.
Jeanne: Yes ma’am. I like those best. I can read it this week.
Aunt Rene: Don’t you want something else?
Jeanne: No ma’am. This is what I want.
Aunt Rene: You’re sure?
Jeanne: Yes ma’am. Really sure.
As I gave the cashier my two quarters (It took a while ’cause the cashier had to put on her sunglasses to get a good enough look through the shine to tell they were, in fact, quarters.), Aunt Rene’s head went side to side, as though scanning to make sure she didn’t see anybody she knew. Or, more to the point, that nobody she knew saw us.
The cashier rang up the sale, put my book in a bag, and before it touched my eager hands, Aunt Rene intercepted it and asked the cashier, “Would you please double bag that for us, Darlin’?”
Wasn’t long after that shopping trip that Aunt Rene started paying close attention to my bowel moments. Maybe she got “Are you regular?” confused with “You just ain’t right.” I think we can all see how that could happen.