Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Kid Tails

That Kind of Mom

Our kidlets were raised on country living, moral values and kindness as well as a good work ethic.  There were always chores to do, always.  From when there were very small, they helped out around the home, on the farm and with the vehicles.  Repairing and building fences was a family affair, as was washing the semi.  Our super-hero strong son often had to help his father when the semi broke down.  When we needed a new roof on the house, the kids were the main roofers and we were their gophers.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, gophers are people who are helpers.  They go-fer this and go-fer that.  The kids earned their allowances, and when they did extra work, like help to repair something big, they were given a bit extra or something was purchased for them.  They weren’t kids who wore brand names or got whatever they wanted.  Not only could we not afford it, we didn’t want them to grow up to be spoiled, entitled brats either.  They shared our hobbies.  We spent time with them, and included them in most everything we did.  I was one of those parents who hated when school started.  I missed them, and wanted them with me.  I loved going out riding with them.  Heck, I pretty well enjoyed doing anything with them.  They truly were our portable entertainment units.

It was just after my son’s sixteenth birthday, he began to talk about a car he saw for sale at a local car lot, “Mom, there’s the coolest car at the lot in OakBank, but it’s sixteen hundred dollars.  Too bad, it’s so expensive, eh?”

“That’s out of our range,” I agreed as I listened to him, tell me about it, and how special he thought it was, “but yes, that would be nice.”

Over the next few weeks, the car kept dropping in prices, which just tormented the boy.  We still couldn’t afford it, yet he kept stopping at the lot and checking on it.  The day before his birthday, he came home extremely excited.  The car had dropped in price to an incredible, six hundred dollars.  He was almost beside himself with stress that someone would buy it.

“Please mom, please can we go look at the car?”

“Six hundred dollars eh?” I contemplated the price, “okay, it’s still a bit much, maybe not for the car, but for us.  Still, we can go after school tomorrow and look at it.  If we can get it a bit cheaper, maybe we can swing it.”

Well, that kid probably didn’t sleep much that night, and I bet he had trouble focusing on his schoolwork the next day.  Unbeknownst to him, I went to the car lot when he was in school, and checked it out.  Now, I’m a bit of a horsetrader, in that I need to get the best possible price, and like any true Manitoban, if it’s not a great deal, I’m not happy.

“My son’s birthday is today,” I told the salesman, “and he’s been watching this car come down in price for weeks now.”

“Tall kid, comes with his shorter friend during lunch hour,” when I smiled, he went on, “I’m pretty sure I know which one he is,” he added with a chuckle, “he really wants that car.”

“Yes he does,” I agreed, “the problem is, even though it’s now six hundred bucks, it’s still kind of more than we can afford.  Would you take three hundred for it?”

“Three hundred?” he almost choked the words out, “I don’t know, that’s really, really cheap.”

“Yup,” not about to be swayed, I stuck to my guns.  After all, my husband had taught me that there was no harm in asking.  The worst that could happen is that, he would say no.  Then again, he just may say yes.  I had to try, “sure, I think that’s a fair offer.  We both know that on paper, you probably gave someone sixteen hundred dollars as a trade in, but in reality, they gave you that car.  You’ve already found it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and though you keep dropping the price, it’s still here.  If you take my three hundred, it’s not only gone, but you’ll make a teen boy, extremely happy.  What do you say … you’ll take three?”

“Make me feel a little better,” he sighed after a few moments of thought, “give me another fifty, and it’s his.”

“Sold,” I cheerfully agreed.  I paid for the car, had the bill of sale made out to my son then asked for a small condition.  I wanted the car moved to a different spot, and I wanted a huge SOLD sign put in the window.  When I came back with the kids after school, I wanted the boychild to think it was sold.  Yup, I’m that mom.

Late that afternoon, the boy got off the bus with his sister and his friend, all excited about going to check out the car.  We hopped into the car, and away we went.  As soon as we arrived at the lot, the boys hopped out and hurried towards where the car had always been, only to find, it wasn’t there.

“Oh no,” the boy worriedly said, “It’s not there.  Maybe it got sold.  Oh there it is.  They moved it by the sales office,” his stride lengthened in anticipation, only to suddenly veer off with a huge moan of despair, “it’s sold.  We’re too late.  It got sold.”

Sure, he appeared devastated, yet I couldn’t help myself.  I hardly ever got to pull one over on anyone.  I had to play it out a bit longer.  I just had to.

“Well, we’re not going to leave without at least talking to the guy,” I said, “I mean, what if it’s a conditional sale, or maybe we can buy it off the new owner.  Let’s go see.”

The boychild didn’t clue in, but sweetpea immediately grew suspicious, “you already bought it, didn’t you, mom?” she whispered, “you did, right?”

I winked in answer and gave her a quick smile.  Just like that, she was in on the game.  Well, he wasn’t all that keen on carrying on, but I was encouraging, so we headed for the car.  I have to give the salesman credit.  He was simply tortured to play along, yet play along he did.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, “but it sold this afternoon.  Still,” he held out the keys to my dejected son, “I think it’s fine if you want to take it for a little ride, see how it goes.”

His hands firmly in his back pockets, the boy had no intention of tormenting himself, by going for a drive.  Even when, the salesman kept pushing the keys at him, he kept his hands in his pockets.  He couldn’t get over losing out on the car.  His friend, Justin suddenly understood.  He’d appeared disappointed as well, then as he looked at my grin and sweetpea’s smile, he clued in.

“Take the keys.  It’s your car,” he began to laugh, “it’s your car.”

“You can take it for a spin,” the salesman finally caved, “or you can take it home.  It’s your car.  Your mom bought it this afternoon.  It’s really your car.”

Well, the boy is all grown now, still owns that first car, and still hasn’t forgiven me or forgotten that day.  Still, he should’ve known, because yes, I am that mom.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB