A knock at the door brought me up from the basement Sunday afternoon, inwardly grumbling about the possibility of a salesman disturbing me on a Sunday.
It was a salesman, but he was good. I agreed to give him $12 in November when he brought me a bag of caramel corn, and only 11 oz. of caramel corn at that. I don’t even like caramel corn!
(It’d be nice to say how much I despise caramel corn here--how it has caused me no end of heartache, how it led to my braces and to my merciless ridicule in middle school and my extreme emotional trauma, etc. It's be nice to say all that here because that denunciation would heighten your interest in this amazing salesman. But I never wore braces, and there are a couple brands of caramel corn I do like.)
This guy was probably a little shorter than Anna, was probably born shortly after the Twin Towers went down, and he had a round innocent face.
His pitch started off--no joke--“Hi, Mister … (to himself) No … (looking up at me again) My name is Ezekiel.” It’s like Dad had gone over his presentation with him before he started out, but he just hadn’t quite nailed it down yet.
He was with the Scouts selling popcorn. He had on his Scout cap, his navy Scout shirt--troop 3092, his Scout neckerchief, and black athletic shorts. (The black shorts made me think it was Dad out in the minivan at a discreet distance and not Mom.)
CUTE! That’s what I’m trying to say in all this. CUTE! Ezekiel was adorable. I did not want to buy popcorn. I did not want to spend any money, but I wanted to do something for this cute, innocent Scout, and so I looked over the order form. He may not have had his pitch down yet, but clearly other neighbors were moved by this little cherubic salesman in the same way I was. Six or seven had already purchased popcorn, and my $12 was the cheapest order placed yet.
As I was filling out the order form, Ezekiel was whispering to himself, and it sounded like he was excited that someone else was buying, like he just couldn’t keep it in. He was softly exclaiming something like, "Yes! All right!"
“Do you like Scouts?” I asked.
“Oh yeah! If you have any kids you should let them do Scouts because it’s a whole lot of fun!” A pause. "I like your piano."
"Thanks. Do you play piano?"
"No, I have some drums."
"Oh, you're a drummer!"
"Yeah. I'm kind of more into rock music."
Priceless. I love this kid.
He left. I watched him go to the next house, the minivan slowly following him. I continued smiling. He reminded me of Andrew when Andrew was his age, full of boyish exuberance, and for a few moments I missed my 8-year-old son.
Don't get me wrong; I love 15-year-old Andrew. He's a delight.
Twelve dollars. Too much for caramel corn, but I think it was worth the exchange with Ezekiel and the reminder to enjoy my children at every age.