The Tie Ride
Pushing Tammy around K-Mart in the cart was one of my favorite big sister jobs. She was so cute. Little old ladies would stop us to admire my beautiful sister, and there were plenty of old ladies shopping at K-Mart. As they oohed and aaahed over her golden hair and baby blue eyes, I would proudly announce, “I’m her big sister. I take good care of her.”
At least that was the official story. In reality, I truly loved pushing my sister around K-Mart because I was in charge. When you are pushing a cart, people get out of your way. If they don’t, you run into their ankles. They usually learn that lesson pretty fast. I also liked being in charge for a change. Tammy would have to go wherever I pushed her and look at whatever I wanted to look at in the store. Besides that, my parents might sneak off and leave me to live in the store, but they would never do that to Tammy. Everyone loved Tammy.
Every time we went to K-Mart, we went to the men’s department to look for clothes for my dad. K-Mart had an awesome way of displaying ties. The ties hung from a five-foot rack in a rainbow of colors and designs. Everywhere you looked, ties hung down in vivid colors. I loved the silk feel in my hands and the variety of colors and styles to choose from. It was about the only time I was jealous of my brothers, because they would be able to grow up and wear these beautiful ties.
I loved to run my hands through the ties and feel the soft silkiness on the backs of my hands. Carefully, I would hold one up and rub it along my cheek. I could just imagine how good it would feel to run through those endless ties and feel them across my cheeks and my hands. As I stood there, imagining the “Calgon Moment” in the ties, I realized they also looked like a car wash. The hanging ties looked like car wash brushes hanging down.
Fate comes along every once in a while and knocks me flat on my back. This was one of those moments. I couldn’t pass up this lifetime opportunity. I turned back to the cart and told Tammy my plan.
“Tammy, let’s run through the ties. It will be so fun!”
“No, Tiff! There is a bar in there and I will get hurt!”
“No, you won’t! It is just a hollow set of ties. There isn’t even room for a bar in there.”
“Are you sure? I’m scared.”
“Of course I’m sure. If there was a bar in there, you would be able to see it. You don’t see a bar, do you?”
“All right, then. Just trust me. I know about these things because I’m not a kid anymore.”
I pulled her backwards to get a running start. “On your mark, get set, go!!!!”
I ran as fast as I could directly into the ties. It was total bliss. The silky ties caressed my hands and face as I ran.
“Clonk!” The bar reverberated and shook in my hand as I heard the sound of the clonk.
The cart sprang back in my hand and pushed me backwards on to the floor. The cart tipped over and fell sideways, spilling my sister out on to the floor.
Ties flew everywhere. The floor was strewn with ties. People came running from all over the store to see what had happened. My mom was hysterical.
Tammy looked at me and said, “I told you there was a bar inside the ties.”
The manager of the store came running over to see what had happened. I stood up surrounded by ties and broken pieces of the display that had apparently been in the middle of the ties. My mom’s face was beet red. She looked like she was either going to murder me or burst into tears. She croaked out, in a voice I barely recognized, “Go to the car, NOW!”
I grabbed my sister and went out to the car. Tammy burst into tears. I sat there shocked, humiliated, and confused. How could this be? I was sure that the ties were hollow.
I turned to Tammy and told her, “I’m sorry! I was sure there was nothing but a car wash of ties”
She looked at me and cried, “You always say to trust you, but your plans never work out. They always get us into trouble.”
Suddenly I had a new idea for a plan. We could trick my mom into thinking that there were other people in the car, not us. I told her to sit up on her legs so she would be taller. Then I sat as tall as I could in the back seat, sure that my mom would think we were someone else’s kids.
My mom started walking towards the car, and I held my breath. Would she buy it? I did not think about what would happen if she did buy it and we actually had to go home with some stranger instead of our mom. All I cared about at the moment was finding a way to get us out of trouble. Closer…closer…closer. She opened the door and did not say a word to either of us. Tammy shot me a dirty look and I shrugged my shoulders at her. How was I supposed to know that my plan wouldn’t work? At least this time we didn’t get in trouble.