For twenty years as we were raising our two boys, we lived on the main highway that runs along the coast between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, SC. Our house was sandwiched in between commercial property on twenty acres of land owned by my husband’s family which had not yet been zoned commercial. We had a wonderful ranch-style house set back a good distance from the highway with two other houses on the property as well as an old barn and pond for fishing as well as gardening plots. It was a haven for raising boys.
Directly across the highway from our house was the Hammock Shop complex, a widely known and desired community of shops for tourists and locals alike. It is the home of the Original Pawleys Island Rope Hammocks. One of my friends owned the shop that sold the hammocks among other things and I went to work for her part-time.
At this point, our older son was in Jr. High and played trumpet in the school’s marching band. Our younger son took piano lessons. They were both quite good at their instruments. My husband has always played guitar and is amazing.
My duties at the shop, since I was the newbie, were to fold tee shirts of which there were hundreds, Keep the Rainbow flip-flop rack straight and sized, walk the floor and watch for shop-lifters and make fudge.
The fudge was made fresh daily in a huge and deep stainless steel pot-all butter, in many flavours from plain chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, caramel, to many of the same with swirls with nuts.
After the fudge was made, it was cooled in square tins. I then cut it into squares on waxed paper for display. My downfall was cleaning the huge pot. The residue had to be scraped out onto waxed paper and then something had to be done with it!
Miss Betty, who was a veteran employee and well into her eighties, a true southern lady, had been cleaning the pot for who knows how many years. She took a tiny handful of scrapings home with her neatly wrapped in waxed paper every night. Miss Betty was a tiny lady and probably weighed nighty eight pounds soaking wet.
Well, during my employment at The Hammock Shop General Store, I nibbled fudge between tee shirt folding, between Rainbow sorting and between watching for shoplifters. I did not take any scrapings home with me. They went imminently into my mouth every afternoon. My clothes were getting tighter by the minute. After two weeks, I stepped on the scales. I had gained two pounds! I thought to myself, if I kept this up, after working here a year and at this rate, I would gain fifty two pounds! No, this was not good. I could not resist the fudge. This environment was no good for me.
That night, I talked it over with my husband and he agreed, and that the money was not worth it as I was making only minimum wage. The next day I gave my friend my notice and she gracefully accepted. It was nearing Christmas and I bought a few small things with the last of my check for Bobby and the boys-just something to take to them on my last day at the shop. I was feeling a little down because I was going to miss the other girls, the camaraderie and the fudge. On my way home, walking across the highway, I found myself humming a tune Bobby and I heard on the radio that we had been trying to work out the chords to on piano and guitar-a song titled “One Small Child”.
As I approached our house, the lights from our tree were glowing through the large paned window. The boys greeted me with hugs around my knees and waist. They were dressed in their pyjamas and Bobby in his sweat pants and long-sleeved tee shirt. “Sit down on the hearth. We have a surprise for you, Mom.” they said.
With Bobby on the sofa with his guitar, my older son standing beside him with his trumpet and my younger son at the piano, they played “One Small Child” together. Tears of joy, pride and thankfulness ran down my face. I was glad to be home.