A locked door welcomed four grandchildren to our house. I stared at the very locked up house. No Grandpa came to greet us.
“Grandpa is gone.” I said. I picked up the phone and called him.
No answer. I could only leave a message to a person who never checks messages, “I left my keys with my car at their home. We are locked out.”
We had to wait for him to return. Four kids had no intention of quietly waiting after a three hour drive. Our newest teenager disappeared round the back of the house. A few minutes later, he waved down to me from the roof of our ranch house. His sister quickly joined him while I tried to think of something we could do while we waited.
“Come on down and let’s go to Junction City to the Pop-Up sale at ‘A Beautiful Mess.’” I said.
“A gathering of crafts, food vendors and small businesses.”
“A Beautiful Mess” turned out to be a restored two-story house in Junction City. Years ago I saw the house from the street and daydreamed about repairing the mansion. In recent years, Jill and Kendall Wilson quit daydreaming, bought it and began the restoration. It is now open for events such as the Pop-up Sale.
That day the house welcomed 50 small businesses to offer their wares. We circled the lawn checking out the booths of items for sale and the food trucks off to the side. Then we ventured inside. It is not yet an elegantly finished house. Old pictures and old books lined the shelves beside the securely repaired steps. The finished floors and large windows with no curtains on that sunny day made a cheerful setting. We climbed the stairs and explored the rooms and shops upstairs and enjoyed the view. I called home. No one answered. Still no one there to open the door. Time to get lunch for grandchildren. I handed each the same amount of cash. “Here’s what you can spend on food.”
It takes a long time for four children to choose exactly what they want when it is their money. We motioned three or four other customers to go ahead of us as they studied the menu and debated back and forth.
“I know what I want! And I don’t want to share with you,” one insisted.
“So you go order while they make up their minds,” I said.
We motioned more people to move ahead until everyone had placed an order and sat down. Once they had food in hand they offered, “Do you want a bite? Let me have a bite.” They munched and sipped happily. Even the four-year-old said, “You can have the rest of these,” as she held out a small bag once filled with sweets. A few crumbs remained.
“So generous,” her big sister laughed.
Another sister looked at the money she had left and the food she did not have. “I want to order more, but I already ordered food once. It would bother them.”
“It’s okay. You can order more food if you want. They are here to make money.” She decided to brave being a repeat customer and returned with a big smile and food.
By the time we finished we only spilled one glass of water and sprinkled a few crumbs around on top of the table
I called home again.
“Hello?” Grandpa answered.
“You’re home! Go unlock the door. We can’t get in. I left the garage remote with my car.”
This time when we arrived, Grandpa opened the door to welcome his visiting grandchildren.