Last Sunday afternoon I could hear a stranger’s voice coming through the front door. “Hello-o-o!”The voice had turned hard right from the entry hallway and right again into the kitchen and then carried even further through the connecting door to the garage. I was in there looking for painting supplies and didn’t care to be interrupted but went to the front door in a sleeveless red T and gray basketball shorts, my painting clothes not being preferred for person-to-person appearances even when it’s to give the what-for to some guy selling replacement windows or to pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses.
A ten-year-old girl stood before the door. I remember most her sheaf of long glistening black hair and the beautiful dark eyes. Her right shoulder pointed toward me, and she had a bag and clipboard in hand.
“Would you like to buy Girl Scout cookies?”
This was the last thing I’d expected. I’d been wrapped up in my own concerns, and the unprecedented question almost made me fall off the earth.
I decided I might indeed like to buy some girl scout cookies. How much were they?
Why, five dollars was way overcharging, as I let her know. What is it that makes them worth five dollars?
She couldn’t say at all.
Nevertheless I went to my treasury. Returning, I stepped out to join her on the plaza of commerce before my front door, showed her three ones and eight quarters and but out of mischief kept the last four of the quarters during handover. No comment from her but I surrendered the last four anyway and said I’d have peanut butter, hoping she maintained them in inventory.
“Creams or sandwiches?”
When I gave the only sensible answer she handed over the sandwiches.
“So what troop are you from?”
She gave me an odd look.
“If I’m asked again I can say I already bought cookies from Troop 567 or whatever yours is called.”
“I’m not in any troop. I’m a Juliette.”
She had might as well have said she’s the U.N. delegate from the island nation of Cape Verde. A Juliette–what could this possibly mean? An elite group of hermit scouts who shun troop membership? As I could have attested, I’m living proof of the inefficacy of individual-study programs. But I’d already proved to be a nut job, even beyond peanuts; she would have dismissed any further comments.
Then I considered the rough neighborhood I live in, and here was this poor innocent carrying around loads of cash. What if someone driving his golf cart up the hill for cocktails at the club suffered a medical emergency and ran her over? Would my five dollars still make it into the greater Girl Scout fund? I mean, American institutions are crumbling. Harley-Davidson has lost 11 percent of its sales over the last two years! What if the Girl Scouts are flushed away next? What if the flushing starts because of lost revenue from Sunday’s sale?
It is Thursday as I write. Of the original twenty peanut butter sandwiches, I still have fourteen. They are so good with whole milk and should be eaten slowly and with full attention. Thank goodness I heard that kid’s powerful voice all the way inside the garage.