Have I Got a Gift for You!

By Bonnie Wonders

It’s the second Friday of the month. The second one always starts out pretty much the same as the one two weeks later. You see, twice each month on Fridays I have a lady who brings in her Terrier mix for his appointment. Along with the dog comes a bag of treats. Not for the dog, but rather for me. I must emit a vibe that says “Feed Me” as so many of my customers have an uncontrollable desire to do just that. This particular lady however always brings me things that are outdated. I mean SERIOUSLY outdated. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten yogurt from her that is six months old. I don’t know how these things manage not to explode. When I open the bag and see one of them in there it looks like a mini Mt. Vesuvius. The container is all humped up on both the top and the bottom. It doesn’t have a chance of sitting upright. I promptly toss it into the trash, along with the bag of Christmas cookies that show an expiration date of 2010. Too bad it’s 2015. Quite the combination, but I don’t really know if it’s any worse than the time she brought me in a can of black olives to snack on. They too were way past their prime as evidenced by the rustiness around the rim of the can which coincidentally had that familiar “hump” on top.

Let me say now, this lady drives a new car every year or so, has some of the nicest jewelry I’ve seen and acts perfectly normal in every way. She’s well-liked by other people that we know and is very easy to get along with. However…

A couple months ago she brought in the dog along with a bag tied with a really nice bow. “Wow,” I thought to myself. “Finally I’m getting something worthwhile.”

“Here’s something special for you,” she said as she dropped the bag onto the front counter and then turned and headed out the door. I curiously pulled the bow off the bag and peered into it. That time was really an eye opener. Inside was an “elderly” Fiber One bar, a jar of artichokes and an “egg” of Leggs pantyhose. Yes, there was indeed a pair of pantyhose in the Legg egg. “What the ______?” I said aloud to her dog as he sat staring up at me. He looked just as perplexed as I did. He had no comment either. Once again, I made a short trip to the trash can. Sometimes I would almost swear that somebody has installed hidden cameras in my shop to see my reaction to some of this stuff.

I remember when one of the “goodie” bags was actually a tray of chocolate candies like in one of those “Samplers.” When I took the plastic off the tray I happened to pick up a cracked chocolate candy. I remember thinking to myself, “Surely, she wouldn’t have,” and turned the candies over. Sure enough, each one was cracked… just enough that someone had obviously checked out the filling in them and tried pushing them back together. Most groomer’s trash cans probably contain dog hair. Mine are full of old food gifts.

I shook my head in wonderment when she brought me in a bag filled to the brim with salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and other various condiment packets. Do you know what those packets look like when they are probably 10 years old? Ewwwww… I made a special trip down to the dumpster at the end of the parking lot with that one. It was a big bag!

Although it is usually food that she brings me there have been other times that I’ve gotten gifts from her that have no expiration dates so I don’t have to worry about spoilage. I DO wonder where her head is though. She once brought me in a small box that contained some “extras”, as she called them that I might like. In the box there was an assortment of probably 30 different kinds of decorated artificial fingernails. I will say they were unused, but there were just a few of each set in there. Maybe like four of one design, seven of another. Usually a person has a complete set of ten fingers and you’d generally like them all to match, but maybe I’m just abnormally picky.

For Christmas one year she gave me a gift box that was very nicely wrapped. “Open it and see if you like them,” she instructed. I was scared, knowing her track record with giving me gifts, but I obliged. I opened the box to find a set of four soup mugs. I pulled them from the box and they were indeed very pretty. However, two of them obviously had the handles broken off. The handles were not in the box….just completely broken off. “Ohh….” I said not sure of what to say. Before I had to worry about saying ANYTHING else, she burst out with her explanation. “I thought they were just so nice, even though the handles are broken off. I thought you’d like them anyhow,” she said. “Oh…” I said again. “They really are pretty…”  Are you and I thinking the same thing?

As I write this, it is November. Yesterday the lady brought me in a banana, a bottle of Mt. Dew and two candy canes. Not thinking much could be wrong with the candy seeing as how we are a month away from Christmas at this point, I stuck the bag on the counter. Several hours went by and I thought I’d break open one of the peppermint sticks. Lo and behold, as I pulled it from the bag, I noticed that the wrapper had a kind of yellow tint to it. Shaking my head to no one but the dog that was standing on my grooming table, I attempted to break the stick in half. Apparently when a candy cane is older than dirt, they don’t take well to being broken. The candy bent completely around. I can tell you with scientific proof that an old, damp candy cane can be bent into a complete spiral. It never broke. I wound that baby tighter than a piece of pasta and it stayed intact.

I kept that candy and wound and unwound it half a dozen times. I tried to give it to the Mailman, the beer guy next door and my husband. So far, no takers for some reason. I have decided, probably to your disbelief, that I won’t eat it. If you don’t hear from me for a while though, I may have caved and given in. At least the hospital is only a few blocks away…

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