Post #18 in the Blog Every Day in May Challenge, 250 words or less. Prompt for May 18: Tell a story from your childhood.
When I was twelve my family moved to North Carolina for Daddy to get his Master’s at UNC. I was the oldest child in student housing, so I was in demand as a babysitter.
At Christmas, I was excited about buying gifts for my family. I chose to shop at Kerley’s, the wonderful local store where brides registered. On one side of the large building, they carried all kinds of rope, tools, and other hardware; the other side featured cooking utensils, china, silver, and glassware. I knew Mother would treasure something from Kerley’s, if only because every package they wrapped was a marvel of elegance.
I searched the dusty shelves for an hour before I finally made up my mind. The clerk was patient, letting me browse and occasionally giving a suggestion. I do not remember what I bought for my father or brothers, though I know I left the store laden with presents. But my mother’s gift I remember clearly. For her, I chose a crystal punch bowl with twelve matching cups, beautifully gift-wrapped.
On Christmas morning, I was fidgety with excitement. I can still remember my joy as she looked into the box and lifted out the punch bowl. “How beautiful, Lanita!” I recall her saying. “I’ve never had anything so beautiful! How could you afford something like this?” But of course she knew it was my long-hoarded babysitting money.
I was gratified. My search had paid off. All $6.98 that I’d paid was worth it!