Impulse Shopping



As careful and hesitant as I am, I am disabled by an impulsive streak that flashes its lightning at interesting times. My long-term goals, although still there, fade in the brightness of what’s in front of me. Sparkle captures my eye and sends me wanting. My husband usually grounds me. He listens quietly, then brings me back to the reality at hand. He ticks off the hazards, extols the cost, and after a day or two of processing his words, the careful me returns. I go back to thrift store shopping, gardening, recycling, and saving. I can count the times on one hand he’s let me run the extent of my dream without interference. Those have worked out for me.

Bruce and I didn’t take a vacation last year. With my dad’s illness and death, we’d spent most of my vacation time going back and forth to Chesapeake to check on him, then to make funeral arrangements, and finally to settle his estate. I had gone full force for five months without stopping for breath. I’d yet to have a good solid cry. I was worn out.

“Let’s go to Chincoteague this weekend, just the two of us,” Bruce said the last week in July. The boys will be alright at home. We can take the bicycles, beach chairs, a cooler full of cold ones, and sit on the beach, do nothing but relax in our favorite place.

A year ago we bought a lot on Chincoteague at Big Glade Creek; and made plans to build a house in ten years when we retire. The view is as close to perfection as we have found. Ten years seems a lifetime away, and we continue to visit our little island. Each trip, whether staying in a hotel, cottage, or campground costs us rental bucks. Zoning laws will not allow us camp on our lot. We bought the property knowing that up front. Even so, Bruce threatens to pitch a tent, but I don’t want to antagonize the neighbors.

We arrived on the island a little after daylight on Friday morning and parked at Big Glade Creek. We watched the egrets and geese catching their breakfast. The breeze cooled my skin as I sat cross-legged in front of Bruce on our floating dock. I leaned back against his chest and he rested his chin on my head. “I could sit here forever,” he said.

“Me too,” I echoed.

We checked into the hotel at 3:00, stored our gear and unhooked the bicycles. We rode toward Assateague and then onto the hike/bike beach. We stayed, watching the waves break, until just before sunset. We shared the beach with only six other people, but if we looked straight ahead, it was just the two of us.

Sunday came too soon. It always does. I hate to leave Chincoteague more than I hate paying the one hundred thirty-nine dollars a night hotel cost, but with a five hour drive ahead of us, and work for me on Monday, we pulled out at 11:00. We usually head straight down Maddox Blvd to the causeway over Chincoteague Bay toward the mainland, but there was a small line of traffic up ahead and Bruce veered left onto Pension, then right onto Ocean Blvd. which would take us to Main.

That’s when I saw it, a small white, aluminum-sided house with a brick chimney, on a neat manicured lot. It reminded me of my grandparent’s house. The one we live in now. The bay window was somewhat obscured by an overgrown rhododendron bush, one of my grandmother’s favorite shrubs. The ‘for sale’ sign held a box of leaflets describing the property. “Look at that house,” I said, pointing. “Pull over.”

Bruce parked at the curb and I grabbed one of the leaflets. The house was built in 1950, the same year my grandparent’s home was built. This one had two bedrooms, just like theirs. We walked around the outside and found hydrangeas and crepe myrtles in bloom, ours at home are blooming now. A shop and shed sat on the back of the lot. I peered into the window. Woodworking tools were anchored to the workbench. My grandfather was a carpenter.

“I want to see the inside of the house,” I said.

Bruce looked at me and raised an eyebrow. “If we do, we’ll get back late,” he said, looking at his watch.

I could not explain the connection I felt to this house, but it was there. “Let’s just call,” I said. “At this short notice, they might not even be able to show it. If they can’t, then I’ll take it as a sign and we’ll go home.”

Bruce handed me his cell phone and I dialed Debbie, the realtor who had helped us find our lot last year. She answered on the first ring. “I’ll call Ocean East Realty and get the key,” she said. “I’ll meet you at the property in fifteen minutes.”

Debbie opened the back door and we stepped into “Melva’s kitchen”. The carved wooden sign on the wall proclaimed it to be. My grandmother lived in her kitchen. I remember the tastes and aromas of biscuits baking, strawberry jam and apple pies.

Debbie stepped aside for us. “It belonged to a couple who lived here for sixty-two years,” she said. “Islanders. They built the house just after they were married. Melva’s husband passed away a couple years ago. Melva lived here by herself until June. She’s moved to the mainland to live with her daughter now. They had a hard time putting the house on the market. It’s been Melva’s life.”

As I looked around, I could see that. I could feel it.

Part 2:

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

19 Responses to “Impulse Shopping”

  1. Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" Says:

    That’s a beautiful house; I hope this ain’t fiction. But then you have me on tenter hooks. As a former realtor I envision the sequel with a cloudy title like a boat I heard of once.

  2. kimpoole3 Says:

    Can’t wait to hear what happened!

  3. ly Says:

    Chill bumps here and watery eyes. What a beautiful serendipitous event–my favorite.

  4. Whimsical Sighs Says:

    Wow! I shiver thinking about this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Southern Sea Muse Says:

    Can’t wait for more – what a beautiful story of love, life and hope. Thank you so much for this!

  6. Joyce Says:

    I love your post above of the house/cottage. That is a wonderful picture and it looks so nice and comfortable. Did you buy it, then? When you described your grandmother it brought back memories of mine too, and my mother who is also deceased now. Thank you for visiting my blog and story and for the very positive comments you left.

    • train-whistle Says:

      Thank you Joyce. Ahh, the story of the house continues tomorrow. Stay tuned! Glad you enjoyed the story and thank you for your kind comment.

      • Joyce Says:

        OK, I will check in later on it. Thanks for all the replies. I ‘m sure you see a lot of sad things in the nursing home. My granddaughter has unfortunately seen some residents that had the disease so bad, that when they were having some off days (with a kind of schizophrenia) she was on the receiving end of their behavior (i.e. being punched in the stomach or nearly choked, or strangled.) Those are times when she has considered quitting her job. But, she continues with the job while she is in college classes.

      • train-whistle Says:

        often times CNA’s bear the brunt of an elder’s frustration. nursing homes are not very well equipped to deal with mental illness issues either. Please extend my admiration to your granddaughter. She has the most difficult job in the entire building and continues to go back each day. She is a blessing to those she cares for.

    • train-whistle Says:

      Hi again Joyce,
      If you go on the train’s whistle blog and click on follow, you will receive an email with the next post about the cottage. –tw

      • Joyce Says:

        Thank you. I will. And thanks for the previous replies. By the way, I really like your blog’s name, Train-whistle. I just love trains and especially love the sounds they make and the whistles. We live near train tracks and I love hearing the trains coming down the tracks. It is like serenading music to my ears at night as I can literally go to sleep hearing train. Don’t know what it is exactly, but the sounds of them are comforting.

      • train-whistle Says:

        me too. I needed a “handle” for a writer’s forum when I first started sharing my work. The train just happened to be blowing its whistle outside my window and that’s how my handle came about. 🙂

      • Joyce Says:

        That’s really cool. 🙂 With mine, I wanted to us ‘Reflections’ as I love the reflections in pictures of ponds and lakes I’ve taken, and I view ‘reflections’ as a reflecting image of my writing, my character, but ultimately the person I am through my creator (God, and Savior, Jesus Christ).

      • train-whistle Says:

        excellent choice!

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: