Mother Nature Did Not Cooperate For My Plans


So the plan was this: we would open a second antiques mall in Independence, Mo., near the grandchildren. Then, when things were interminably hot here in the south, the northern store would be raking in the dough. And when the snow came cascading down in the north, the snowbird shoppers of the south would make up for the deficit.

Our plan was to open on April 1.

April fools! April 1 turned out to be Easter! So, we decided to have a chamber of commerce ribbon cutting on April 4 and our grand opening party on April 7.

On the day after Easter, we tried what is known as a “soft opening,” which means we’re open, but we don’t tell anyone about it. If they come in, we sell them stuff. Actually, we’d been doing that all along, but we weren’t in the store a lot, as there are things like business licenses and sign licenses to pick up, electricity to have turned on and, oh yeah, Internet service so you can do all that other stuff online. It was catch-as-catch-can if you needed us to actually open the doors so you could rent a space or buy something you’d seen through the window.

Our soft opening went well. By day’s end, half of our booths had been rented, and we’d done more than $2,000 in various sales. The people of Harry Truman’s hometown seemed to be happy we were there, and all the dealers knew each other. It was like having one big happy family living in my rooming house. I was elated! I was confident! I was downright giddy!

Then I looked over at my husband Mark, who was, frankly, a miserable mess.

That’s because part of my plan had failed — the weather part. Missouri was not cooperating with my foolproof plan and had welcomed us that morning with 25 degree temperatures. It was snowing. Mark tried to scrape the ice off his windshield with a credit card, and the card snapped in half. He was muttering under his breath, and we hadn’t even opened yet.

By 6 p.m., when we finally got the last enthusiastic shopper out the door (an hour late), it had warmed up to a toasty 32 degrees. I took him out for pizza and sat him next to the ovens but, on the way out, he tripped on a chunk of snow that had fallen off someone’s bumper and was back to muttering.

“I want to go to Florida,” he said.

“I know, I know,” I consoled him. “But I haven’t accumulated enough inventory to justify the trip yet. Everything I’ve bought lately has gone into this store, so it looks full.”

“I don’t care,” he said. “I’ll buy stuff on the way down. They need stuff.”

“But our new awning cost $12,000 and the sign was $6,000…”

“They need me in Florida!” he said.

I looked at him, all shivery in his warmest jacket, his ears blue and his hands numb. It wasn’t like him to grasp at straws like that.

“After the grand opening,” I promised.


“If it’s still less than 35 degrees outside.”



And that’s what happens when someone from Milwaukee marries someone from Atlanta. Nashville is where we should be.