Small Stories for a Big World



Many things that I fantasize about buying for my family would cost serious money. For one, Garnet would like to build a little house in the back yard where she could have her art studio. She would also like to have a farm where she could keep giraffes, llamas and the other animals she would like to share her life.

If that kind of money is coming into our lives one day, I don’t yet know about it. I do have $35, though. So imagine my delight when I discovered that $35 was all I needed to add pizzazz to both Garnet and Sparkle Girl’s lives.

First, a little history: Many years ago, I bought a vintage chrome toaster. It was quite beautiful. I soon discovered, though, that it was not designed for the modern world. It could toast white bread—the bread of the day when it was made—perfectly. However, toasting dense whole-wheat bread required two rounds of toasting and, with its thin slots, toasting a bagel was out of the question.

Still, I liked the character it added to my kitchen, and we lived together happily until the day came when it ascended to Toaster Heaven. When I bought a replacement, wide slots for bagels and a timer that would turn far enough to take care of dense bread were at the top my list. My new toaster was plain white with nary a spot of chrome or stainless steel to catch the eye. But it did what it was asked to do without complaint. So I was content.

Little did I realize, though, that Garnet and Sparkle Girl dreamed of a toaster that did more than simply toast the wheat bread we use to make Doobins’ peanut butter& honey toast. They wanted one that brought pop to the kitchen. They even knew the toaster they wanted. Garnet had come upon it one day while shopping for something else. It was a snappy dresser whose sides were covered with colorful diamonds of sky blue, magenta, canary yellow and a shade of green that brings to mind the first grass of spring.

Garnet and Sparkle Girl said nothing, though, and continued to treat our toaster with dignity and respect. It was only when Mr. Ordinary’s days on this sweet Earth came to an end that Garnet spoke. The toaster was no longer available in the store but could be ordered online. That we did.

The day it came, Garnet and Sparkle Girl spoke of its charms when I called home to check in. Not only were its colors delightful on their own, it turned out that they went quite well with the painting that hangs above the spot where the toaster lives. Sparkle Girl was taken with a feature that we didn’t even know it had when we ordered it. After unplugging the cord, you push a button and the cord retracts. And, as for executing its duties, Sparkle Girl reported it toasted the bread uniformly.

I had no idea that a new toaster would generate such enthusiasm.

When I came home that night, Sparkle Girl demonstrated the retracting cord. And they were right, the toaster did look good with the picture.

Garnet and Sparkle Girl had already decorated the rest of the house with delightful art and vintage particulars. Now, with our new toaster, I think we’re ready at last for a spread in Charm on a Budget magazine.


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