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Can I have a drink from your hose?

Posted Friday, June 1, 2012, at 8:31 AM

We survived.

Our family survived the 100 mile yard sale. We had about a million people in our subdivision. Wait let me retract that, almost a million with a few soulless aliens thrown in for fun. It was about 100 degrees on my driveway. Our plan met a major glitch from the beginning -- the Boy Scout.

A few years back, our crazy, fun neighbor Craig, sold hot dogs. He had a few garage sale items, but his master plan was to cook hot dogs and brats, grill onions and peppers, and basically be the friendly go-to for starving children and wayward bargain hounds. His hot dogs and brats were magical. Screaming child- happy child, complaining husband -happy husband -- Craig was the magician the rest of us yearned to be. I wished I could go over to Craig's driveway and hang.

While my son became jaded for life as a result of a woman complaining the Tommy Bahama shorts should be a quarter instead of dollar because of a missing button - shoving the quarter into his fist, Craig was receiving pats on the back, repeat customers, and tips! My son said he'd sew the button back on and the shorts were now two dollars, flicking the quarter tiddlywink style, back at her with close to deadly force. Clash of the titans! She stomped off and he quit helping. He spent the remainder of the day with Craig eating brats and laughing.

This year Craig was gone; we miss you Craig. We would have to take the lead and assume the grill master position. We were ready, brats, dogs, Gatorade, and water. We had a few things to sell, but we knew those items were trivial. As the sun rose on route 25, we hauled out the grill, umbrella, condiment table and coolers. Then we saw it... the neighbor boy, a real Boy Scout, setting up his grill. Three cases of Nathan's suddenly became a cement block attached to my ankle. Maybe the kid is just trying to earn a badge by cooking eggs for breakfast on a grill? When he hauled out the buns, I knew this was going to be bad. Should we compete against a Boy Scout? Was the ungodly amount of profit we were going to make be worth taking a Boy Scout down? Emergency family meeting! How much are the Smith family souls worth? The result (the vote was very close)-- we were only going to sell the drinks -- and have brats for a year. Wisconsin Brat Casserole, Sheboygan Brat Fiesta, for all you Southern cooks- Brat Tater Tot Bake with cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta can be found on the net. I'll let you know how those turn out.

I'm a salesman. Quick -- we have to shift gears, don't compete with Boy Scout, compliment him kids! Keep our neighbors friendly. We had a psycho neighbor once - let's not go there again. Our secret weapon became ice-cream sandwiches. Todd, go to SAM's and buy 10 cases of ice-cream sandwiches. Don't ask questions, just do it!

So as the people sailed through the neighborhood, toting lamps and surfboards, stopping for a Boy Scout brat, Gatorade from me, the little ones begged for ice-cream. Most of the kids got one. But then came the last sale of the day. One mom, three children in tow, refused to buy her kids an ice cream. Mommy's saving up for another dragon tattoo on her calf, we can't afford three for a dollar -- Carl you got another cigarette? Turns out she was caring after all, asking, "Lady -- can my kids drink from your hose?" I gave all the kids a Gatorade and ice cream. I folded my umbrella, took in the coolers. The Smiths went to see the Avengers.

Next year's secret item? Who knows- but I'm going to clear it with Boy Scout first!

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-- Posted by akrhino on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 11:12 AM

Fantastic writing! We look forward each week to read your blog.

-- Posted by dmtalley on Fri, Jun 1, 2012, at 10:57 PM

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I am 48. Married to my high school sweetheart, mom of three college students, ovarian cancer survivor, only child - that is now an only adult caring for aging parents. Born in Cape, lived most of my life in Alaska. Yes, my husband and I graduated with Sarah and Todd Palin - known them most of our lives. I owned successful kitchen and bath design studios until I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Upon remission I decided to change my life. I used my English - Creative Writing degree to become a teacher. I also hold a MA in Eductation - Technology and Curriculum. We moved from Alaska back to Cape in case I died. I wanted my kids to know their cousins. That was 10 years ago. My view on life is odd. I have had extrordinary things happen and I choose to view in an extraordinary way. I am observant, intuitive, and feel like something is out there that I have yet to discover. I'm not afraid to speak my mind, quit a job because of unethical activities, and often root for the underdog. I'm sarcastic in nature and my students love it. I'm antsy, look younger than my age, and laugh really loud. Oh yeah - I love meeting odd people. Life is good. Robin Smith's blog is about observations, celebrations, and commentary about the idiosyncrasies, quirks, twists and turns of life. Exploring human nature and the people around us.
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