Whatever is Meant to Be


I’ve been on the hunt for bookcases for a while now. I have ten tubs of antique books sitting in a damp garage near the beach, and I think it would be good to get them into the house.

I sold all my beautiful bookcases when I was getting divorced. I knew the new smaller house wouldn’t be able to house them, plus I didn’t want to have to move them. My handyman hauled them to my shop, and I sold them off, one by one, nine years ago.

Now, trying to buy them back, I am always on the lookout at the thrift stores. Yesterday I walked into one and found a beautiful solid-oak cabinet from the 1900’s, with interesting quarter-sawn grain and two detached stained-glass doors. It was four feet high and nearly as wide and 23 inches deep. It would hold a whole bunch of books.

The price was $100.00.

“Price is not negotiable,” the employee said as she saw me studying the case.

“It’s not that,” I said. “I need a way to haul it.”

I asked how long it could sit there if I bought it, and she told me a week. I texted my worker woman/friend in Hayward and asked if she’d run down with her truck to help me.

No answer. My sis texted to say that they wanted to come over for lunch on the holiday Monday, and a light bulb went off in my head. Her husband could help me load it into my Prius V. I went out to the car to measure. It would be a tight fit.

My sis and hubby have a truck, but my mother would be coming with them, and she can’t climb up into it.

I told another employee that I was going to have a bowl of soup next door and that if the cabinet was still there afterward and if I had lined up help, I would come back and buy it.

The chicken caldo at Mando’s is worth the $9.00 charge. It is a huge steaming bowl of chicken and veggies in a thin broth, always a little different from the time before. I was served warm flour tortillas to go with it.  I ate all the carrots, potatoes, cabbage and broth until I thought I would explode. As I sat there, the Hayward friend texted back that she and her daughter would come, since Monday was a holiday.

Then I got impatient. The place was full of customers with only two waitresses. I wanted the check to go buy the cabinet, but my waitress was taking a long phone order.

She finally came and gave me the bill. I handed her my credit card since I had no cash. Now I had to wait for her to run the card.

The phone rang again. She answered and then had to talk to the cook about the order.

I tapped my foot.

Someone is buying the cabinet right now. But I can’t leave until I get my card back.

The waitress was in a discussion with the other waitress behind the counter.

I could just slip next door and use a different card, then come back and get my card.

The waitress was at the credit card machine. She had a stack of bills and cards.

Run mine first.

And then she was at the table, wishing me a happy rest of my day.

I left a generous tip since I used to be a waitress, signed the bill, and headed next door. As I walked into the thrift shop, the tag was still on top of the cabinet, a good sign.

I bought it and took the stained-glass doors with me. Then I dreamed that night that it was filled with termites. That happened once. A realtor friend noticed a pile of pencil shavings on top of a buffet and said, “You have termites.”

I will fumigate the cabinet once it gets here.

I am too old to be buying big heavy furniture. But it will hold a whole lot of antique books.

Qué será, será.

Couldda Wouldda Didda

I bought the cabinet. I had a steaming bowl of soup on a very cold day instead of the salad I had planned to eat at home. I need to go to restaurants by myself more often.

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