Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Case of the Stolen Scarf

Everyone has a funny/odd Thanksgiving story. I used to belong to the DFW Coffee Club. We’d meet for coffee every Saturday morning, sometimes breakfast as well. The club was run by a ditzy blonde woman who lived in a highrise in downtown. So she invited everyone to Thanksgiving at her house one year.

She forgot to mention that there’s a marathon race in Downtown Dallas each year called the Turkey Trot. They close off a lot of streets for the runners. So I baked mac ‘n cheese in a casserole dish and headed out to downtown all gaily dressed.

Every street I needed to turn on was blocked off with cops standing there waving traffic off. I drove around and around downtown until I was just soooo frustrated. Finally, I called the ditzy blonde and said, “How do I get to your building? Every street is barricaded.”

She says, “Tell them you live in the Mosaic building. They have to let residents get to their homes.”

So I found a cop and said, “Hey, I’m going to the Mosaic building and need to get through.”

He waved me passed, as I yelled out the window, “Where’s the Mosaic Building?”

He pointed and there it was right across the street.

Parking downtown is another story. They love to tow cars away so I knew I had to get the parking right. 

I called the blonde and said, “I finally made it. But where do I park?”

She gave me instructions to follow the signs for visitor parking so I did. At that point though, I felt like just leaving the casserole dish in front of her door, and going back home. I was already stressed and frustrated from driving around downtown for an hour, dodging Turkey Trotters.

Inside her apartment was a different story. She lived in a building that had once been some type of educational school. The admin area and classrooms had been transformed into apartments. They were very compact though. And laid out funny. The kitchen was open to the whole apartment but you couldn’t get 3 people in it.

The dining room was just a tall table that would seat 4 people. I looked around and counted 14 people. I knew we were in trouble. But I also knew there would be some food to eat because each person had brought a covered dish and the turkey was done. So that gave me some hope.

The ditzy blonde did what ditzy blondes do. She fumbled around the kitchen like she’d never been in one in her life. She was supposed to be finishing up the gravy while some guy peeled 10 pounds of potatoes. I helped the potato guy, then put the potatoes on to cook in a huge caldron.

Then I helped the blonde finish making gravy. Everyone was very nice and in a good mood. There were some snacks sitting around so we didn’t have to starve. But it did take a good 2 hours to actually get Thanksgiving dinner on the table.

One of the reasons was the fruit salad. The blonde had an aluminum pan 18 inches long by 12 inches wide by 4 inches deep. She had filled it with all types of fruit and nuts and now she was mixing in some whipped cream.

I couldn’t help myself. “Hey, uh, Jess … how come you’re making so much fruit salad? I mean, everyone likes it and all but you have enough for 50 people there.”

She looked up briefly. “This is the way my mom always did it. Besides, my daughter is coming over later.”

I smiled but had one of those freaky moments where you wonder if someone’s drunk, on drugs or what. She merrily finished up the fruit salad pleased with herself that she’d done it just like her mom and finally we all got to eat.

The food was pretty good. The turkey came out okay. The toughest issue was that there was no place to sit and eat. Some people had to stand, some sat on the couch. 

After dinner, she tried to get people to eat some of that fruit salad so I had a small dish of it. I like fruit salad mixed with whipped cream but when I left, she was trying to get people to take bowls of that stuff home with them. I was certain that she threw most of it in the trash about 5 days later.

By the time I left her place and started home, the race was over and the streets were unblocked so driving wasn’t so bad.

I had worn a pretty Winter shawl to the party but forgot it, leaving it at her apartment. I was way too tired to turn around and go get it. All I could think of was getting home, taking off my shoes and bra and crashing in my recliner. That would be heaven!

The next time we got together for the DFW coffee Club, I asked her about it. “Hey Jess, I left my shawl at your apartment. Can you bring it next time we meet?”

She glanced up kind of nervous and said, “No you didn’t! I didn’t find anyone’s shawl.”

I was stunned. I knew I’d left it there so I guessed that she had taken a liking to the shawl and decided not to give it back to me. It was very pretty and ornate.

"Okay, well guess I left it someplace else," I half-heartedly murmured.

I never got the shawl back but then again, she could never wear it to our meetings because she knew I’d recognize it at once. 

A Nefarious Plan Unfolds

So when it came time to renew our memberships, she said she didn’t get my renewal payment and then removed me from the club. Now she’d be able to wear the shawl to meetings and no one would ever know she stole it from me.

Of course, that didn’t sit well with me. I’m the type of person that, if you tell me you want something or like something, I’ll give it to you. I’m not very attached to my stuff unless its something that belonged to my grandmother etc.

If she had just asked me for the shawl, I would have given it to her.

Once, my best friend, Beverly came over. I had just moved into a new apartment and she was complimenting my new furniture. She stopped when she saw one of the switchplates.

"Hey, that's beautiful! Is that vintage?"

"Yes, I bought two of them in an estate sale a few years ago and just never did put them up. They look pretty good, huh?"

"Oh my gosh yes! That ornate painting of red and orange roses on a white ceramic background is so exotic."

"You can have them if you want them," I told her.

She was stunned and speechless for a moment. "Oh no, I'd never take them. They look so good here in your living room. They go perfectly with your furniture."

I thanked her and gave her hug. Bev and I had been to so many garage sales, auctions, etc. in the course of our long friendship.

We had met at work when we were in our 20's. We were both skinny, but pretty...just a couple of dumb girls--one blonde, one brunette. 

She and I played lots of word games and board games during the course of our lives too. Only she cheated. She could read my mind and I knew it. I would try my best not to think of the cards in my hand but she knew. It was like she could just see what was in my head anytime she wanted to.

I didn't really mind though, because she knew all my secrets anyway. 

Well, at any rate, I never got the Christmas shawl back from Jess. And she never let me renew my membership at the DFW Coffee Club. 

I really do miss that group of people though. It's funny how they were taken out of my life.

That seems to happen to me alot though. Everyone I ever cared about was just methodically, with precision, taken out of my life. 

Just like a dentist extracts a molar from your gums, they were surgically removed and I was left with too many gaping, painful holes. And no warm scarf for winter!

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