Bacon and I are readers. We’re raising our children to be readers. For a nine year old, Cherry’s capacity for the written word is phenomenal. Coco is very competitive, so I expect her to catch up soon. As a Christmas present, we took the girls to Scholastic’s Warehouse Sale.
For me, a warehouse stacked floor-to-ceiling with books evoked the energy of Filene’s basement during a wedding dress run. Adrenaline pumped as I snagged sets of Lemony Snicket and Judy Bloom. The girls oohed and awed over Fancy Nancy and Warriors.
And Bacon–in true male tradition–disappeared. For thirty minutes, my beloved left me alone with two ferocious, smart girls, who were promised they could put whatever they wanted into the cart. When Bacon returned from his stroll, he went ballistic.
He choked out something about “$300 dollars worth of books in this cart.” When he found his voice, he screeched, “We can’t afford this.” To Coco, who wielded a Jan Brett picture book, he yelled, “Put that down!” He lifted Cherry’s recently released copy of Seekers, spitting, “Doesn’t this come in paperback?”
The veins in his neck throbbed. His jaw, rigid. His eyes, protruding. I worried he might have a stroke. He needed time. Gathering the troops, I headed to look at the bargain bins as he calculated our financial ruin, UPC by UPC.
On the way I passed a cashier. “Could you explain the pricing policy?” I asked.
“Yes, unless marked 25%, the book is ½ off. Books with special tags, $2.00 or $5.00 are priced accordingly.”
The girls sat down in front of a stack of Magic Treehouse. I told them. “Stay here. I’m going to let your father know we aren’t going bankrupt over what’s in the cart.”
I wandered into the stacks to find my husband. “Relax, Bacon. The books are ½ off, not full price. That’s why we’re in a warehouse.”
“Oh yeah?” He sneered at me, eyes bleary and face sweating.
I ignored the attitude. “Otherwise, we might as well go to Barnes & Nobel and take along the deed to the house.”
Sheepish, but relieved, he said, “Sorry. I guess that’s what I get for leaving you alone with the girls so long.”
I don’t get a full confession very often, so I said nothing. We retrieved our children, wheeled our cart to the check out line, and paid our bill.
Cherry and Coco have been nose to page ever since.