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by Carol Kehlmeier
Description: All Casey and Sean wanted to do was sell the salve they sent away for from a magazine ad. Their intentions were good. They wanted to help Grandma with food money. Because they didn't read all the instructions that came with the salve, much sadness and heartache would be experienced before the problem would be resolved.
eBook Publisher: DiskUs Publishing,
eBookwise Release Date: January 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [32 KB]
Reading time: 17-24 min.
"Subtle, endearing, charming. Selling Salve is a story aimed at teen readers that will appeal to their parents, as well, with a lesson of forgiveness that transcends the ages. You'll read it the first time and enjoy it. You'll read it again and notice the subtle nuances and the small details, carefully tucked into the story. You'll read it a third time and cherish it's heart-warming ending. Thumbs up." ~~ Jim Farris, Author of "Pandora's Box."
I watched Grandma open a new bag of Maxwell House Coffee and reach inside. She pulled out a coupon and put in the old cracked dish on the top shelf of the cupboard.
"How many do you need?" I asked, breathing in the pleasant aroma of the newly opened coffee.
"Two more." She took the ad down from the bowl in the cupboard. "See. Aren't they beautiful?" She pointed to the picture of the serving bowl with six small matching bowls. She had been saving coffee coupons for months so she could send for the free dishes.
I studied the picture. I had seen it many times. The bowls were a soft yellow with images of camels and palm trees and Arabs in long flowing garments.
"They look like Bible people," I said.
She ran her red chapped fingers across my head. "They do indeed," she said.
She signed. "There's not always money for coffee. Other things are more important."
Grandma struggled to feed the family. Grandpa worked at the furniture factory when they needed him. But not many people were buying furniture, so his services as a finishing carpenter were not always needed.
When he did bring home a pay envelope, I saw him take money out before he gave any to Grandma.
Grandpa liked going to Kelly's Bar and drinking beer and playing poker. He thought he was a good poker player and sometimes he won a dollar or two. When he did win, he gave part of it to Grandma for household bills. When he lost, he sometimes took more money from the sugar bowl behind the old cracked dish on the top shelf of the cupboard.
When she went to the sugar bowl, Grandma knew when Grandpa lost poker. "Oh, dear. I don't know how we'll make it." She would bite her lip and tears appeared in the corner of her eyes as she replaced the sugar bowl with shaky hands.
Somehow we always managed to have food on the table. But we weren't any different from the other families in Flytown. Everyone was struggling.
Sean and I knew life was difficult for Grandma. We had often talked about how we could earn money. There wasn't much work for adults, but we had hope that some day there would be a way for us to earn some money for Grandma.
Then, one day Sean saw an ad in a magazine he found when he was trash picking.
"Casey," he called. "Come here. Look at this. We can do this!" His voice was filled with excitement.
"What?" I said, looking over his shoulder.
"It says here," he pointed to a small advertisement. "Sell salve and earn money." He looked at me. "We can do that."
"I don't know, Sean," I said in a doubtful tone.
"You don't have to send any money. It says right here." He pointed to the ad. "We send for the salve, they send it and we sell it. We get to keep five cents on the quarter."
"I don't know, Sean..." My voice trailed.
"Don't be such a 'fraidy cat. You know Maw never has enough money. We could keep some and go to the candy store." One of Sean's dreams was to buy all the candy he wanted. "When I grow up I'll buy you and me all the candy we want," he had said many times.
"Well, how much do you have to sell?"
"It says there's a dozen cans in a box. We could sell lots. I'm a good salesman." He sniffled. "I think we should send for a couple boxes."
"That's a lot, Sean. Maybe just one box."
"Then, after we sell all of that, we'll send for more." He smiled from ear to ear.
Sean had a way of getting people involved in his excitement and I was no exception. I was feeling his enthusiasm. "OK."
He jumped up and down. "We'll do it!"
Sean found a postage stamp in the kitchen drawer and we filled out the order blank and gave the letter to Mr. Jennings when he delivered our mail.
"What you kids up to?" He asked, removing his cap and ribbing his hand across his thick blond hair.
"We're gonna sell salve. Don't tell Maw, it's a surprise," Sean told him.
Mr. Jennings had been delivering our mail all our lives. He knew all the neighborhood gossip and sometimes stopped to pass in on to Grandma.
"Don't tell anybody, please," Sean begged. "We know you like to talk to everybody, but we want this to be a surprise."
"Won't tell a soul," he said, shaking his head and ambling up the street.
"We ought to make a list of who to sell salve to," Sean said.
"OK." I followed him into the house.
He found a pencil in the kitchen drawer and a piece of writing paper.
"Mr. Racer. He's got money. And Mr. Beethoven at Steinman's and maybe Mr. Jennings. Look! That's three already. We only need nine more people. We can knock on doors and sell it."
"This is great," I said. "We'll be rich."