Monday, April 6, 2009
Beau Randall is a Happy Boy
One Saturday morning last summer Beau and his mother got up early to garage sale. Garage sales are an important component in Mrs. Randall’s weekly routine. Without them, and the occasional visit to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, Peggy Randall would find it nearly impossible to keep her seven children in clothing. Garage sales are the source for nearly all of the Radall children’s Christmas and birthday presents as well.
Mrs. Randall prepares for each Saturday morning safari by mapping out the expedition on a laminated map of Cloverdale. With the Friday edition of the village newspaper laid out before her on the kitchen table she plots every advertised sale on the map with a grease pen. Then using her tried and true method of saving time and gas, she calculates where to go first, then second and so on. She knows which neighborhoods to canvas and when - ensuring the best selection. Her stops are fast and furious. Beau likes to go with her but struggles to match her pace. The van pulls up to a house. Mrs. Randall is out the door before the van comes to a complete stop. She’s already through most of the clothing before Beau finishes his battle with the seat belt and gets the sliding van door open. Once outside, Beau runs to find the toys knowing he has a few precious minutes while his mother haggles over prices.
“Beau. MOVE,” Peggy shouts when the purchases are complete and she is ready to move on to the next sale. Beau runs to open the back of the van. The clothes and toys are tossed into a heap behind the back seat, the doors closed, seat belts attached and the van screeches down the avenue.
Now, back to my story. One Saturday morning last summer Beau was digging through the toys at a large multifamily garage sale. He glanced over at his mother. Her arms were full of clothing and toys. She was walking toward a card table holding a cash box and two cups of coffee. Two rather large ladies sat at the table gossiping about anyone that wasn't within ear shot. Beau knew he had roughly five minutes to finish his explorations based on the size of the load in his mother’s arms and how quickly she could make a deal on the prices. Peggy always insists on volume discounts and she usually got one.
“Beau, MOVE,” he heard the signal and dropped everything he was carrying. Something caught his eye as he rushed toward the van to open the door for his mother. He stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the treasure. Next to an old washing machine and floor lamp with a bent shade was an miniature elephant on a skateboard. The elephant looked like Horton from the Dr. Suess book his teacher read to them the week before. He seemed hypnotized.
Mrs. Randall saw her son’s reaction to the toy as she waited impatiently behind the van with her arms full of clothing. She struggled to get the van open, deposited the clothes and ran back to the two ladies at the cash register. She pointed to the elephant, haggled a bit, opened her pocket book and took out a couple of bank notes. “Beau, MOVE,” she shouted again as she jumped into the van and started the engine. Beau broke his trance and reluctantly followed his mother’s command. The van screeched down the street leaving the elephant to find a home with some other lucky boy. Month's passed. The elephant was never discussed and time erased its memory.
Beau’s birthday was last Wednesday . He had a small party after school. He was allowed to invite three best friends for cake and ice cream. Afterwards, Mrs. Randall took them to the Grand Theater for a movie. After the party Beau watched a little TV. It was getting near bed time.
“Beau,” Mrs. Randall said, “time for bed.” Beau stopped in the bathroom, brushed his teeth and washed his face. He kissed him mother goodnight and walked toward the bedroom. He thought it strange his mother was following him with the camera. He turned on the light, turned to his bed and froze. Sitting on his bed was the elephant riding the skateboard.
“Surprise,” he heard his mother say behind in. She stood in the doorway with her camera. The flash lit the room for an instant capturing the face of a very happy little boy that had a pet he could love without the agony of an allergic reaction. Beau embraced the elephant, then his mother and then the elephant again. He named him Horton.
Beau takes Horton on walks everyday. He is a talkative child and stops the neighbors he finds and introduces them to his new pet. Mr. White was especially delighted to meet Horton. Mr. White is odd. He rides a skateboard. Most old men don’t ride skateboards but Mr. White was once a stunt man for movies and claims to have perfect balance. Mr. White was pleased to meet an elephant that rides a skateboard as well. “We can be odd together,” he said to Horton.
Beau had the best ever birthday.