What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 31st

A long long time ago, I was in college and my Mom was newly divorced and living in a little house in the country. We would meet on Saturday afternoons and go to the laundry mat to do our weekly laundry. Since I lived near the campus, all the laundry mats were always packed. So, we would drive all the way across town to the "seedier" part of town to a laundymat that was usually empty. We would load up the washers and start them all at the same time. Back then, it took over an hour for a wash cycle. Across the street from the Laundry there was a Family Dollar. We would walk over there while our clothes washed and buy fabric softener, chips or a drink. Sometimes, payday was a week away and we wouldn't buy anything - we would just look around and make fun of things. We like to laugh and can find humor in a great number of ways. (Carrying a 19" color TV up a flight of stairs is one of the funniest things we ever did - we laughed until we nearly dropped it over the edge of the staircase). One of the most humorous things at this particular Family Dollar was the Manager with the odd curly red hair who looked at us the minute we walked into the store and watched us the entire time we were in the store. Not a glance here and there, but he stared at us. Glared at us. Piericing eyes. My Mom called him, "That Creepy Guy." Every week we would go in there and he wouldn't ever speak - he just stared at us. *Shutter*

One summer day I was at work at the grocery store and I went in the back room to get some merchandise. When I stepped into the back someone yelled, "Hey, Shara - come meet the new guy." Oh, that's right, you guessed it. It was the "Creepy Guy"!!! "The Creepy Guy" was now working with me. I mentioned this to my Mom later that day, who put her finger firmly in my face and said, "YOU stay away from that guy. He is C*R*E*E*P*Y!!" She thought he was creepy and up to no good. "Yes, Mom. I will stay away from him." *Shutter*

And I did. As much as one can stay away from someone in a small grocery store where you have to be in the same backroom and the same aisles and the same breakroom all day. And there are only a handful of people working there and you are friends with all of them except "Creepy Guy". So, you can't exactly NOT talk to "Creepy Guy" when everyone else is starting to talk to him. So, I listened to "Creepy Guy" and what he had to say. And, I discovered that "Creepy Guy" was a pretty nice guy. Very nice in fact. And, not really creepy at all. And, really sort of sweet. And kind of cute. And, he no longer has curly hair as his perm has grown out. (Seriously? a perm?) And I discovered that he came from a complete and total hillbilly up bringing and it is a wonder that the man had enough sense to come to town and get a job and join society and be a fairly normal human being. (Except for that whole "Creepy Guy" thing). He also told me one day that he remembered me and my Mom from the Family Dollar. He said it was the store policy to look at each and every person that entered the door - note what shoes they were wearing when they came in the door and when they left (apparently Family Dollar is a hotbed of shoe stealing activity) and note when they left the store. So he was watching us to see if we were shoplifting $3.00 athletic shoes, that explains part of the whole creepy guy thing. It also let me know what sort of a shady shoe stealing character I must have looked like.

We would talk at work and on our lunch and breaks. On Halloween we had a party at work and I brought the deocrations and food (Geez, I've always been the party planner). He helped me carry things out to my car at the end of the day and we ended up standing in the parking lot and talking for three hours. As other people would come and go they would say, "Where's the party?". We called that our "Parking Lot Party" - known as the "PLP" after that day.

I remember one day it rained really hard and there were reports of flooding out in the Hillbillyland from which he sprung. He was unable to make it to work because the roads were washed out and some bridges were underwater. He did make it down from Hillbilly Mountain to the itty bitty so-called town below the mountain to see the flooding himself. He called me at my apartment, the first time he had ever called me, to say he was checking on me and worried about me in the flood. I took that to mean that he was starting to care about me since I lived on top of a big mountain in the city and there was no way flood waters could have affected my life in any way, shape or form.

About a year into our friendship, I got transferred to a new location. I wasn't sure what would happen to us. I hadn't been in a real relationship before (sad, but very true), but I felt this one had potential. On May 31st, a friend called to say she would be in town and that we should go out on the town that night. I decided to bite the bullet and ask him to go with me. I called him very early in the morning before he was awake and alert up on Hillbilly Mountain. He said, he'd think about it. Well, okay, then. Maybe I should rethink my feelings. That afternoon on the way home, I drove by to see him at work to see if he was going to go or not. He hemmed and hawed around and I never came out to ask him either. My Mom was with me and finally, very exasperated, she said, "Are you going to go or NOT?" "Yes," he said. Well, good god, he could have said that earlier. So, we went out that night and one thing led to another and we decided we cared about each other and wanted to be more than friends. Just like that. *Poof* He spent the night at my apartment that night. No hanky panky - it was just too late to drive home to Hillbilly Mountain and we had a couple Rum and Cokes to celebrate the new relationship. That morning when he left to go to work, he just stood there at the door. I finally leaned in and kissed him. He kind of stared at me in the old "Creepy Guy" way. He said that shocked him. Well, I thought I was a newbie to this relationship thing. What kind of a guy was I dealing with???

Now fast forward on to the very romantic proposal. As if. We went to Pizza Hut with his best friend from high school and his wife. Before the pizza came, the wife threw her checkbook calendar over to my "Creepy Guy" and told him to pick out a wedding date. And, so he did. And that is how I suddenly found myself "engaged" although I don't think I ever actually used that term until right now. At least he did have the thoughtfulness to pick the very date that we went out and our relationship began - May 31st.

We had a simple wedding. I told the Preacher that it would be a small wedding. I have a big family and there are lots and lots and lots of family members out on Hillbilly Mountain. We sent out a lot of invitations. But, for some reason, I didn't envision many people coming. It was just the ceremony followed by cake in the reception hall, so I didn't bother with RSVP's. Imagine my surprise when over 120 people showed up in this tiny little church. My father's Great-Aunt who I hadn't seen since I was five was thee, all my aunts and uncles from Kansas from both sides arrived and every single person up on Hillbilly Mountain came to town - many wearing their finest overalls - to attend the wedding, not to mentin every single employee of the store where we both worked. It was a simple thrifty wedding as we were pretty poor and working for minimum wage. I planned it all, bought the food, made the party trays for the Rehearsal Dinner, made all the flowers and made all the decorations and decorated the church and reception hall. I did it on a mere pitance. My Mom bought my dress which was a pretty ivory taffetta dress - advertised as a Bridesmaid Dress in the JC Penney's catalog and priced at $99.00. My Dad bought the wedding cake. We paid for everything else. It was nice enough, but now that I am in the land of thriftiness and frugalness, I know that I could do so much more for the money.

We couldn't afford much of a honeymoon, so we planned on going to Branson for a day or two. I had babysat for a family for about 10 years and I was very close to the Mom. They owned a townhouse on a golf course up in a fancy little village. They offered the townhouse to us for our honeymoon and I have always been so grateful to them for that act of kindness. After DH made me leave the wedding reception (we were one of the last ones to leave because I was having fun seeing everyone!) we stopped at a McDonald's for something to eat. The girl at the drive thru window looked in the car at us and said, "Ya'll look nice - whatcha been doin'?" At the time, I found that so funny. Actually, it still is pretty funny.

So, now you have "TMI" (too much information) - about "How I Met My Husband". Otherwise known as "Shoe Thief Weds Creepy Guy."

The "Creepy Guy" Family


  1. What a wonderful story!!! I loved it (and it even made me teary eyed:)) Happy Anniversary!!

  2. Anonymous12:50 PM

    I just love your blog! Happy Anniversary! What a nice story. Great photo too.

  3. What a great story! I really enjoyed reading it. You look so pretty in that photo! :)

    And they lived happily ever after!

  4. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Happy Anniversary!! Even though I knew the story I enjoyed reading it. What a great job. It just doesn't seem like 16 years ago. That 11 year old grandson seems like he just got here too. I love all of you and think you are the sweetest family I could have. I guess I am a former shoe thief suspect now the creepy guy's mother-in-law. Mumsie
    P.S. Love the picture also!!!!

  5. That was the sweetest gosh darn story. It is so nice to hear long term love still exists.

    I noticed Christopher didn't DARE put those rabbit ears over mom's head.

  6. Thanks for sharing such a precious story!
    You are waaay tooo cute!

  7. Oh that is just the best story! Thank you so much for sharing! Happy anniversary!

  8. What a sweet story! Happy Anniversary. And I love the picture of the three of you.

  9. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Thanks for sharing with us 8-) !!

  10. Shara, you have such a FUN writing style that I think you should send in some of your 'excerpts from the life of a thrifty Mom' into various magazines!!!!

    I am serious!

    A few years later, after you have morphed into a really fancy Christian Authoress---(cause I can't imagine you writing TOO much smut lol) you can dedicate one of your novellettes to me---like you remeber the townhouse lady for your honeymoon ;=)

    Happy Anniversary Sugar!


  11. Happy anniversary Shara,
    Great story. If you know of anyone looking for another creepy guy, let me know.

  12. Shara, I think this is the best post I have ever read. What a wonderful story and what a wonderful husband. Happy (belated) Anniversary!

  13. Anonymous8:05 PM

    Loved your story! This is the kind of story you will still be laughing about 30 years from now. Happy Belated Anniversary!


  14. You are absolutely STUNNING! I loved reading your story, and your family photo is just awesome. Wow-wee. . .Happy Anniversary!

    Aimee Suzanne

  15. This was such a sweet and fun story! Thank you for sharing it with us! Happy Anniversary,
    Erica :)

  16. Great story! Thanks for sharing! Happy Anniversary-hope you have a wonderful day filled with lots of smiles as you remember all the great years behind you and think about all the great years to come!!!


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