When last we left our hero, he had just braved an icy New England New Year’s Day, packed up all his possessions, and moved about twenty minutes down the road to the darling little hamlet of Sterling, Massachusetts.
At this point, you should be saying, “that seemed rather uncomplicated.” And it was. Mostly because he owned nothing. I think all David’s worldly possessions (besides those that have migrated to our house from his parents’ over the years, of course) fit in his 1993 Nissan Sentra (named for “Nermal,” the world’s cutest kitten, because that’s about how fierce a car it was) and a friend’s pickup truck…a friend who, unfortunately got in a slow-moving car accident that fateful, icy January the first. But I’m getting off track.
When David arrived with so little but with a sizable paycheck coming in every two weeks, he realized that a shopping trip might be in order. Or two shopping trips. Or heck, two major stores in one day. First the furniture store, and then WalMart, for all those other things you need to fit out an apartment. And who better to enlist for help but his new landlady and her daughter, who was home on college break? I say “landlady,” but by this time David had endeared himself to our family so much that it was more like going shopping with my brother (brother reference #1 — it won’t be the last).
So off we trekked through the cold and snow to Rotman’s, “New England’s Largest Furniture and Carpet Store,” and home of Bernie Rotman, who is the founder of potentially the most annoying TV advertising campaign ever known to man. We picked out a loveseat, an entertainment center and curio, a rug, a (teeny!) dining room set, and (I think?) a coffee table and end table.
Then on to WalMart, where Mom and I basically just threw things in his cart without asking. The trip through the store was permeated with many comments like, “oh, you’ll definitely need one of these.” David recalls one funny exchange about a carpet sweeper, which Mom thought he needed but I thought was a piece of junk. He remembers how quickly I caved and said, “oh it’s fine.” 🙂
One funny memory from this day was that we ran into a lifelong friend of my mom’s, Linda. She stopped and we had a short conversation, telling him that we were getting all this new stuff for David’s new place. She walked away thinking we were paying for it all! Nope. It was the best kind of shopping trip, where we picked stuff out and he paid for it. What could be more fun?
After all the shopping was done, David took Mom and I out to the Sole Proprietor (one of the nicer restaurants in the area!) for a thank-you dinner. He remembers the waiter flirting with me. I think he’s paranoid. The choice of the Sole for dinner is particularly amusing to me now, since it takes an act of God or a milestone birthday to get him into a seafood restaurant these days.
And so began the long stretch of time where David was the family servant, the adopted son, the chauffeur, the lawn boy, the pool boy, the go-to guy when there was extra food prepared or company needed. That spring, my sister got married, and he ran through the rain to hang up a bazillion white bows to direct guests to the reception site. We danced together at the reception (twice, if memory serves correctly). And he accompanied all of us in the wedding party to the post-reception diner breakfast, because Mom and Dad packed too many gifts in their car and they had no room for him. 🙂
I stayed at school that summer. And then I came home for another wedding.
To be continued…