During our recent heat wave of octogenarian temperatures, I was reminded of one of the simpler pleasantries — shopping by catalog.
In our childhood years during the ’50s, we grew up with Sears Roebuck, J.C. Penney, Spiegel, Montgomery Ward and assorted big, fat catalogs, filled with possible products for us kids to imagine acquiring.
But that took money, which was hard to come by with a two-dollar-a-week allowance as my budget.
During the ’70s, while I was in law school, Dad remarried a year or so after our mom had suddenly passed away. Being the classy guy that he was, our widower dad, and his bride-to-be Thelma, flew around the country to meet us kids to obtain our permission.
For maybe the first time in our lives, Dad was asking his three kids what we thought.
It did not take five seconds for each of us to realize that Thelma was the perfect lady for our family. She was no stranger to chaos, having raised five kids and more than a dozen grandkids after her husband had died. Why not help another frustrated Republican raise his?
And help she did.
Thelma, a catalog lover from way back, introduced us to Lillian Vernon, Crate and Barrel, Harry and David, Saks Fifth Avenue, L.L. Bean and many more.
Thelma let Dad enjoy the Orvis catalog.
They received so many catalogs daily in their Oil City, Penn. porch mailbox that Dad had to get a P.O. box.
Bring ’em on, catalogs!
So last week when I received the latest Harriet Carter catalog, I pulled my chair up in front of the window fan and began circling my dream purchases with a blue Sharpie.
The anti-snore pillow which vibrates when snoring is detected caught my eye. For only $49.98 I could eliminate night-time elbowing.
The $12.98 “I Can’t Hear You, Old Age Has Some Benefits” T-shirt to let “chatter-boxes and loudmouths know that their endless jabber is lost on you” seemed appropriate, but I will hold out for the “I’m Not Listening” version.
The unique scissor-action meatball shapers, guaranteeing “perfect meatballs every time” seemed illogical given my in-laws’ Italian heritage. Which phobia is it that covers fear of irregularly shaped meatballs?
Should I order the “Fanny Bank” which “breaks wind with every coin, offering up to six flatulent sound effects?” As the catalog describes, “Add more loot, hear more toot!”
For only $10.85, I could obtain two ounces of Age Spot Cream that would safely “renew, repair, and diminish.” If I use too much, will my face disappear?
The welcome relief of “Restless Legs Cream” guaranteed to “calm-relax-relieve-ease and soothe” seems more appropriate for my hair.
Maybe it won’t fall out so fast.
For only $7.85 I can order a “Glow Sensor Owl” that scares away garden pests with a loud “hoot” when motion is detected. I think I’ll buy a dozen to place on hay bales for the Loganberry Festival next weekend when the Shifty Sailors and Rural Characters perform. Talk about a hootenanny!
Like my step-mom Thelma, I never met a catalog I didn’t like.
But how well liked will I be if I show up at our next party with the handy container that “stacks, stores and safely transports 24 deviled eggs”?
Better make that an outdoor party.