It hardly ever happens to me, but I got embarrassed the other day, and I only have myself to blame. You see, I panicked. Kids in Murdo are never ever supposed to be out past 10:00 o’clock at night. And I hardly ever am. Wouldn’t you know it, the first time I did such a thing, I got caught.
Murdo’s water tower in the wintertime
It all started when Mom had to go buy flowers for her planters. She always goes to Pierre and I usually go too, but I have begged off the last couple of years. This year, I was tied down taking care of Pearl the dog. It is a responsibility I take very seriously, and that’s what I told Mom. The truth be known, I don’t like to go to Pierre unless it’s for something more fun than buying flowers. I don’t mind that so much, but Mom likes to stay overnight so she can visit with her friend Betty, who doesn’t have any kids, which is why there aren’t any kid things to do at her house, unless you count eating your TV dinner in the living room.
Mom and Betty let me eat in the living room and watch TV, because if I eat with them in the kitchen, I sit there and complain about all of the smoke they blow in my face. They talk for hours and the faster they talk, the more they smoke. Once I asked them why they didn’t smoke fake air cigarettes like Pearl the human. They both stopped talking over each other when I added, “It was already too late when she quit because she already had those road map wrinkles on her face, and once you have a face that looks like a road map, there’s no going back.”
Me after the perm….Mom’s friend Betty
That was the time they started letting me eat my Swanson’s fried chicken and corn TV dinner in the living room. It was also the last time Mom made me go with her.
This time she “arranged” for me to stay above Sanderson’s Store with Miss Pearl and Miss Grace. Everything was going along all fine until it didn’t. I walked Pearl the dog after supper, which I had to eat in Pearl’s kitchen which is fine, because she only watches TV when Dave Dedrick is on. All he does is the weather and some news, then he signs off. I went on to bed about 9:00 which is my normal bedtime. I was still laying there awake at 10:00 o’clock when something came to me like a flash. I forgot to bring my school clothes with me.
I thought about how early I was going to have to wake up to get home and get my clothes on in time to get to school. The other negative was I forgot my saxophone too. I had what I thought was a good idea. I put on the clothes I had taken off, sneaked down the stairs and out the door. Then, I went to my house and got my stuff. I had just closed the front door when I saw the lights from the Sheriff’s car. Thank you God, he didn’t turn the siren on, but he got out of his car and asked me what I was doing. I said, “nothing much.”
What a dumb thing to say. He thought I was being all smart with him, so he said to go get my mom. I said, “My mom isn’t home.” I was going to tell him that I was on my way to Sanderson’s Store to stay with Grace and Pearl, but he didn’t let me finish. He was in a mood, I tell ya.
When we got to the jail, he took me inside and told me to sit in the chair by his desk. He sat there forever filling out some paperwork until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I said, “Do you know Pearl the human who lives above Sanderson’s Store?”
He said, “Are you talking about that mean old bird who wears the Red Owl glasses that make her look like an Owl?”
I said, “I don’t think she would appreciate what you just said, but I’m supposed to be staying with her all night. I sneaked out because I forgot to bring my clothes and my saxophone to her house, and I didn’t want to worry all night that I wouldn’t wake up early enough in the morning to go to my house and get changed and ready in time to get to school. Add to that the fact that I would have to lug this heavy horn back and forth, which would slow me down, when I was already pretty sure I was going to be late for school.”
He thought I was lying through my teeth. He marched me out to the car, and took me right over to Sanderson’s Store and up those stairs we went and he knocked on Pearl’s door. I was slightly horrified when she opened the door immediately and she looked like she could bite the tail end out of a skunk!
The Sheriff said, “Is this young lady supposed to be staying with you?”
Pearl said that yes I was and she had just checked on me and I was gone from my bed. I knew I couldn’t let all this boil up anymore, so I butted in and very quickly explained my dilemma.
Pearl said, “Well Essie, I agree with the Sheriff…I don’t believe what you’re saying.”
The Sheriff smiled a cock-eyed smile at me and said, “You had better tell us what you were really up to.”
I said, “Huh?”
Miss Pearl said, “Tomorrow is Saturday.”
Get a load of Pearls pants. I haven’t told her what the Sheriff said about her. I might need some “insurance” some day if I ever have another dilemma.