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Friday, September 18, 2015

Vacuumed OR A Tale Of Three Vacuums

In the time I've been on social media, I've been allowed and invited into the lives of people I would not have known otherwise. I may never meet these people because of the geographical distances that exist between us, but I still care about them all a great deal. I have been able to share in their celebrations and their sadness. Those of you who have also made these types of friendships are perhaps nodding your heads in understanding or agreement. Those who haven't are quite probably shaking your heads over The Lunatic's, well...lunacy.

Because of a friend sharing one of my blog posts, I now have a lovely friend named Cathy who lives in Canada. Cathy has endured far more than her fair share of heartbreak and loss, but she seems to handle it with grace and beauty. Grace and Beauty, as lovely as they are, still have their limits, however. Cathy recently posted/vented about a very unpleasant experience she had regarding some home repairs. Honestly, I don't remember all of what happened, but here's how I remember it. When you see where this took my mind perhaps you, dear reader, and Cathy, will forgive my lapse of memory.

Cathy needed some repair work done, possibly to her air conditioning or something along those lines. She called someone to complete the repairs and that's where the trouble began. The person doing the work was unprofessional, even asking her to write down notes from a phone call he took while in her home! He did a terrible job with the repair work and made a big mess. To top things off, when he tried to clean up after himself, he broke her vacuum cleaner. I knew that it was a horrible experience for her because she almost lost her celebrated Canadian cool. This lovely lady was left with a substandard repair and a broken vacuum cleaner. 

In spite of myself, after I thought about how awful her day was, I remembered something that put a smile on my face. I know. I sound like a horrible person. But my memories took me to stories of two other vacuum cleaners. Suddenly I was sitting at my desk years ago in the bank call center, listening to my teammate and friend Brooke speaking with a customer. Sometimes in a call center you can overhear what's going on with another representative, and it makes your ears perk up. Brooke sounded very sympathetic and sorry for the caller and my interest was piqued. I blocked my phone from receiving another call and waited to see what was going on.

Brooke finished the call with kindness but was also smiling. She turned to me and mentioned the poor sweet young man she had been speaking with. Apparently this young man was going through one of those times in life that make you feel like you're living in an old-time crying country song. And to top it off, his account was messed up. When Brooke asked how he was doing today, his reply was, "Well, Brooke, the only thing in my life that doesn't suck is my vacuum cleaner!" 

When I told my Gram all those years ago about the vacuum that didn't suck, it made me remember a story she had told me about a famous Denver resident. Gram knew, or knew of, a lady in Denver by the name of Lenora Mattingly Weber. Mrs. Weber was a prolific writer with over two dozen published books. In my high school years, I discovered her Beany Malone series of books (published between 1943 and 1969) and enjoyed reading these stories of a young woman growing up and maturing. Naturally, Gram was pleased to tell me that these books I was enjoying were written right here in Denver. She also delighted in telling me a story about Mrs. Weber that not many people knew.

Gram swore that all of the traveling salespeople who came through Denver told one another to go to Mrs. Weber's house, because she would buy anything. Some people have great resistance to sales, but not Mrs. Weber. Rumor had it that when her husband was still alive, he would always wonder what new thing would be waiting for him when he got home. Whether it was needed or not, she would buy it because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I imagine that she had sets of encyclopedias and plenty of Fuller Brush and Avon products. But the one that really had everyone shaking their heads was the vacuum cleaner. Yes, in those days, people sold vacuum cleaners (also known as vacuum sweepers in that era) door-to-door. Mrs. Weber mentioned to one of her friends that she had purchased a vacuum cleaner recently. When her friend asked her if it worked well, she answered, "I don't know, I don't have any carpets!" She was so entranced by the vacuum cleaner that she bought one she didn't need and put it aside in case it might come in handy.

Cathy really did have an awful, and I'm sure also an expensive day, and I still feel sorry for all that she went through. I consider myself fortunate that as an apartment dweller any necessary repairs are taken care of by the maintenance staff. Which gives me plenty of time to sit back and linger over my memories.

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