My name is Ellie but Pearl the human calls me Essie so Grace calls me Ellie/Essie. Grace and Pearl are elderly ladies who live in the rooms above Sanderson’s Store. Pearl the human has a dog named Pearl the dog. Pearl said if they both have the same name, she’s not likely to forget and if she does, it’s time for them to part their ways.
I’m on my way to walk Pearl the dog before going to The Busy Nest, which is what Pearl calls her new store. It’s summertime so I don’t have to go to school. I still have my towel job at Mom’s motel, but I’m getting faster and faster at getting them washed, dried, and folded ever since Murdo got a new laundry mat with huge machines. Besides that, the laundry mat is just down the street from The Busy Nest.
We have two things developing at The Busy Nest. One is Pearl’s new Elixerfixer. She has formulated a secret recipe for an Elixer that is guaranteed to cure fixations and prolong life. She once sold it to a gentleman who had a gambling fixation and bad arthritis. He was cured of both. He never again entered a casino, although we did hear he went to the horse races once because he likes to watch horses run.
Once that story got around, Pearl started selling Elixerfixer hand over fist. I sure didn’t know that flat seven-up, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of apple cider vinegar could cure everything. Did you? Pearl says we can’t tell people what the secret ingredients are. We can only tell them they were all tested in a clinic by blind people.
Well I walked Pearl the dog while I was filling you in and now I’m about to go in the back door of The Busy Nest.
The second thing we have developing is Grace’s advice column. It’s not really a column because the Murdo Coyote hasn’t picked us up yet. Pearl thinks it’s just a matter of time. I agree because if the newspaper is smart, they’ll realize that when people start to see their own problems in the paper, they’ll be sure to run right out and buy them up.
But guess what? Pearl got a new winner of an idea. She was still selling Elixerfixer right along, but she said she needed a new frontier to conquer, so she has expanded her umbrella of services to include weddings. It seemed like the perfect fit and a way to bump up the finances and grow the goodwill in the community at the same time…. and… since Grace was already writing an advice column for the newspaper, Pearl said she could incorporate her advising thoughts and provide before and after marriage counseling. She figured, and rightfully so, that Grace couldn’t cause more marriages not to take hold than the unsolicited advice of people who stick their nose into other people’s marital goings on, and have no practical experience telling people what to do like Grace does.
Some figured the local preachers would be up in arms because they were losing out on some of their congregation’s nuptials, but they decided to let if ride for July and August. It had been tense at times in June with the church basement cooks and they could use some much needed time off. It was getting overwhelming taking care of funeral food, and wedding receptions, not to mention, Lions ‘s Club and other social functions held there. The Yoga/pottery wheel class, inspired by that Ghost movie that finally made it to town, had to move over to the bank’s basement just to keep their time slot.
“Hi Grace, Hi Pearl, I’m here, are you?” (I smell orange blossoms. There’s either a wedding today, or Pearl’s added a new flavor of the day to her Elixerfixer promotion.)
“Essie! Grace needs you! She’s got a new bride in her office who’s wailing her head off. I just don’t have the patience to suffer other people’s misery. I don’t even want to see them again after they say their vows.”
“Hi Mrs. Smith. Remember me? I’m Ellie/Essie depending on who you’re talking to. What has you in such a dither?”
“Frank and I were only married for two days when he caught a cold. I tell you, he turned into a different person. He has run me ragged! Do you here me? Ragged! It’s my fault the heating pad is too hot on high and not hot enough on medium. He said I put the ice in the ice pack wrong. He thinks there’s something not right about someone who can’t count out seventeen ice cubes. He moans like he’s about to take his last painful breath and just now, he sent me to the store to pick up a bell he can ring when he needs me. I came here instead! What should I do?”
“CALL HIS MOTHER!!” Pearl yelled from the other room. “And then go to the yoga/pottery wheel class. It starts in an hour!”