Diabolical…The Yellow Shoe

Years ago, when my two sisters (Mary Ellen and Margaret) were living with my Parents in their large house on Clifton Boulevard in Lakewood, my Father got it into his head that they should put a garden in the backyard. While at the time the younger of the sisters belonged to a social club called the “Liquor Dogs” and the older worked part time as a nurse while raising her wonderful boy Michael. I believe Mikey was about 6 or 7 at this time, and his Aunt Mary (charter member of the Liquor Dogs) was consistently giving this hardworking Mom advice on the care and raising of small boys.  As I was saying I believe “Grandpa” thought Michael would get some joy and education out of seeing things grow right outside his back door and perhaps develop a love of  gardening. So he appointed Michael’s Mom Margaret and our sister Mary Ellen, to start the endeavor. Now Dad rarely if ever asked for any assistance in the supply and functioning of the house on Clifton, he might occasionally ask you to clean a room, rake a few leaves or run a few loads of laundry. But all in all, usually living at the family compound(ei; the ranch) was as my sister Mary put it “Living off the Fat of the House”required little or no care.  Now looking back on it I don’t know if this was a situation of my Father’s humor getting the best of him, (wanting to see those two wrangle a rototiller) or did he really have Michael’s education in sight. But I suspect it was done in fun.Well, he left the money on the table and the instructions for the girls to rent a rototiller and “prepare the garden” at the rear of the backyard. You would have thought he said plow the North Forty by the reaction of these girls. Were talking city born and bred, these two had no more experience with a garden or farm work that a goldfish would have. I believe they weren’t even aware that that particular portion of the yard Dad had suggested to till was usually covered with patches of Poison ivy, in fact I’m sure of it. But, by the time I pulled into the rear of the driveway I could see those two side by side one each wrangling a side of the rototiller working in their second or third pass on a small area that was only going to require about 10 more passes to totally finish off the preparation of the soil for the garden. They stopped the rototiller long enough to say “Hi”, and tell me of their earlier adventures, clearing the ground of debris and stones and how they went and picked up the equipment and loaded it into the car and were really getting tired and couldn’t wait to finish.  I stayed close as they started the loud digging machine back up and went in for another pass. All I can say is it was worth the price of admission and my Father had been correct when it came to watching these two try to do this dance together to get this thing to move forward, it was hysterical and Mary with a hangover to top it off.  All the sudden there was a giant Burppp in the rotation of the tiller and up popped a bright yellow patent leather shoe, Mary Ellen looked quizzically at it. Almost as if in her hangover state she expected it to state its business as to how it came to be buried there in the far backyard. Then a errie look of realization played over her features and she shouted , I KNEW IT, I KNEW IT!…You did take it!!! She started laughing and I’m convinced my sister Margaret who had no idea what was happening was convinced that the combination of this fresh air and outdoor work had simply proven to much for our late night sister.  What Marg didn’t and couldn’t possibly have known,  was my sister Mary was suddenly filled with a feeling of righteous indignation followed by delight and self congratulations on finally knowing she had been right all along. 20 Years before Mary had gotten a bright yellow pair of patent leather shoes for her Easter outfit and I was jealous. I had tried to sneak out with these snazzy glow in the dark shoes but she spotted me and removed them somewhat forcibly from my feet. I got mad, if I couldn’t wear these beauties nobody would and I proceeded to bury just one shoe in the far backyard so as to drive her nuts. Well it did.

I can still see my Mother sitting there as Mary shouted “She did it! She did it!” and Mom replying, “Now Mary, why would anyone possibly take just one shoe?”  My Mother had been raised an only child. So as I rolled my eyes at my sister and make the “loco” signal to my Mother I felt perfectly justifed for using any and all things I could to aggravate my sister, suggesting to my Mom we could get help for Mary’s persecution complex. And now suddenly 20 years later what should appear but the bright yellow truth. It made Mary’s day, and me laugh and Margaret curious. Sisters, you gotta love em.

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