Saturday, June 30, 2007

For She's a Jolly Good Salesman

"You can't do that!" I pouted, "It's not right." Jackie did not seem to care what I said or how I felt as she remained unshaken with her nose in the air and her small hand outstretched awaiting the money. I squished my lips tighter and then dug my last two coins from the front pocket of my shorts. As I moved to place it in her greedy little hand, I recoiled for a second and then finally let her have another ten cents - my last ten cents - with an extra hard slap in the hand.

She ignored my childish anger and professionally responded, "And for ten cents you may have your choice of a Jolly Rancher in cherry or green apple." "I want watermelon," I countered. "Watermelon, blue raspberry and grape are very popular flavors, so I raised the price. They cost a nickle more." "But you know I don't have any more money," I whined. "So cherry or green apple?" she replied matter-of-factly. "Cherry." I grumbled. "No, green apple, green apple."

I unwrapped the hard candy, dropped it in my mouth, and walked to sulk on my bed. Trying to make it last a long time, I promised myself that this time I would not bite the small sugary block, but suck on it until it was a razor thin, sharp-edged candy. And then I'd suck a little longer until it melted away into nothing but a lingering flavor on my tongue.

"She thinks she is being so smart," I thought to myself, but I knew I was really wishing I had the foresight to save my money like my eight-year old sister did.

As soon as we had as much as twenty-five cents, my four younger sisters and I were usually begging Mom to let us walk uptown to the gas station to buy some candy. Deciding whether to buy five nickle candies like two Sweet Tart suckers and three small packs of Sixlets, or one big candy bar was a weighty decision. So important it often required twenty minutes or more of deliberation.

A few weeks ago, my younger sister Jackie had ceased coming on these outings. She oddly remained happily at home while we went on our frivolous spending sprees. Then one day she unexpectedly asked Mom if she could tag along with her to the grocery store a mile or two away. Mom agreed and Jackie came home an hour later with the biggest bag of Jolly Ranchers we had ever seen. It had been purchased with at least four weeks of money saved from doing odd jobs. Immediately, we surrounded her and begged for one of the candies.

Our pleadings were met with flat refusal. But, she agreed to sell them to us for ten-cents each. We brought her all our coins and each purchased as many as we could afford. Next we started searching the couches and the washing machine and the cigarette tray in the car for more spare change. As soon as we had enough to make ten cents, we were back in Jackie's room to complete another transaction. Neighbor kids heard about the hard to find candies, now available by the piece, and started coming to the house to make a purchase as well

We were mostly okay with the arrangement until one evening Jackie boasted that she had purchased the bag of Jolly Ranchers for $1.99 and in two days had made over five dollars. That was when I concluded she was being greedy and mean. The thought of all the money she had made off of me alone, was upsetting. As I awoke from my angry day dream, I found myself biting and chewing my precious candy.

"Oh no!" I kicked myself. "So much for enjoying it slowly."

The only thing left to do was figure out where to find ten more cents. Maybe behind the dryer. I was betting none of my sisters had thought to look there.


  1. I have always wanted to be the investor girl making a killing in hard candy.

    But alas, I am the spender girl, who needs that Jolly Rancher right now, even if it's not the exact flavor I wanted.

    Excellent post!

    One question, however. Where is she now?

  2. Yeah....what c-dub said. Who's whining now?

  3. Hi Debbie,

    You do tell a good story. And you tell it with the appropriate perspective. In this case, we saw it from the eyes of the child you were.

    You give us uncluttered prose and that is such a gift.

    When you are ready to write that book, just let me know. I'll be right here.

    If I have time today, I'll be mentioning you in a post!



  4. Compulsive,

    Right now she is sleeping at my mom's house. They arrived into town for a visit yesterday, which is great.

    In general, she is a happy stay-at-home mother of two athletic boys and one adorable girl.

    I don't recall her ever taking her entrepreneurial talents beyond the bags of candy selling.

  5. b.,

    No one is whining now. We have out grown that childish behavior. Now we bottle up our jealousies and never divulge them to each other.

  6. David,

    You are such a cheerleader. I'll check your blog today.


  7. That is too funny. I was that girl that was always trying some new enterprise or another. And usually my brother and cousins fell 'victim' to my money making ways.

  8. Jenera,

    Cousins for victims too? Great scheming!!


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