Thursday, September 17, 2009

Episode 86: How to Get Something for Nothing

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a land far away - well, Virginia, anyway - my parents discovered that they were going to move to back to our ancestral homeland, North Carolina. Well, one of them discovered it anyway - Mom. Dad had orchestrated the whole thing! I think the exact announcement was "la la la, get off your ass and pack everything up, lady! We're moving!" Yes, I'm pretty sure that is an exact quotation but then again, I'm no stenographer.

Anyway, in their Virginia dining room, they had this cheap-ass polyester Oriental rug bought from whatever the equivalent of Target was at the time. It was a burnt orange and brown sort of thing with frizzy fringe. Not meant to be a family heirloom of any kind, just intended to be a bit of warmth on the feet. And now I digress because the rug was on a slate floor in the dining room...the very slate floor where people were murdered during a killing spree where some malfeasants busted in the sliding glass door and killed the previous occupants while their children cowered in a closet and then everything ended in a hail of gunfire further up the mountain and I discovered all this while watching the year-end wrap-up on the local news but, oh, maybe I should save the rest of that story for another episode, like maybe How to Get Your Parents to Tell You They Bought the Polanski/Tate House For a Song.

What was I saying? OH YEAH, the rug. So in anticipation of the move, Mom sent the rug off to a rug cleaner, who came and picked it up and then right before the move returned it all rolled up in brown paper. Mom had it loaded onto the Bekins van and then upon arrival in North Carolina, unloaded and placed in the dining room.

The North Carolina house required a lot of work so it took a few months and my good Christian grandmother Margie came down to help out occasionally. So it was finally time to deal with the dining room and Mom and Margie unwrapped and unrolled not a brown and orange polyester rug from a discount warehouse, but....a gorgeous black and lavender wool rug that was so handmade it practically had the fingernails of Persian children embedded in it. There was an awkward silence. Obviously the rug cleaners back in Virginia had accidentally switched the rugs all those months ago. Mom panicked. "What do I do? This is someone else's family heirloom! OHMYGOD." And then Grandma Margie settled deep into a bargello-covered wingback chair, took a long, deep toke of her Winston, exhaled, and said "I don't see the problem. Keep the rug."

And it's a Strong Family heirloom to this day.