When we left Millie and Mona they were about to test their skills with a glue gun.
The next two weeks went by in a blur. Not only did Millie and Mona make another seashell wreath, they affixed seashells to almost everything they could get their hands on: napkin holders, napkin rings, picture frames, candle holders, and even business card holders. By combining dried flowers with the remaining seashells they created about half a dozen more wreaths.
Millie though it might be fun to take a spot at the local weekend outdoor market to sell their wares. Bright and early on Saturday morning Millie and Mona drove over to the Magnolia Heights Outdoor Craft Market, paid their fee, and were shown to a place where they could set up their things. In less than thirty minutes they had set up two small folding tables and artfully arranged their painstakingly crafted objects.
“Hmm, there sure is a lot of empty room on the tables,” commented Millie.
“Seemed like a lot more when this stuff was taking up space in my kitchen,” answered Mona.
“Well, that just means we’ll sell out sooner than we thought and can go take a walk along the beach.”
Millie seemed optimistic as she sat down on one of the folding camp chairs that they had brought along. Since it was quite sunny and warm she adjusted one of her favorite floppy straw hats so that her face was somewhat shaded.
“Don’t you look like quite the artist!”
“Oh Mona, I’m anything but an artist,” laughed Millie, “but I sure do think we’re going to have fun today.”
“Now I’m all for that,” replied Mona. “Look, that lady with the funny glasses is coming this way. Maybe she’ll buy something.”
“Good morning,” Millie addressed the prospective buyer.
“Are these items made with natural shells?” The woman had a very gruff voice.
“Oh yes. Is there anything in particular that catches your eye?”
“I’m looking for some napkin rings. Is that all you have?”
“This is our entire current inventory. What in particular do you have in mind?”
“You only have sets of four rings I see. I need a set of eight.”
“You could buy two sets of four and alternate them at the table,” suggested Mona.
“No, I want them all to match.” The woman abruptly turned and walked away.
“What in heaven’s name did she mean by ‘natural shells’? They all come from a beach somewhere or other,” commented Mona.
A young couple came along next and looked over each of the items carefully before selecting a napkin holder that was done in a sunburst designed of seashells.
“Our first sale, Mona!”
“Yeah, a whopping five dollars.”
“I’m sure things will pick up.”
Millie sat back in her chair and smiled at the folks who stopped at their tables, answering questions and in general having a good time. After a couple of hours she decided to stretch her legs so she left their wares in Mona’s care and meandered from vendor to vendor, chatting up the artists and craftsfolk. At one stall she found a pair of hammered silver earrings that she purchased; at another she found a lovely floral print shawl that she thought would match several outfits she owned. Altogether it was about an hour before she found her way back to where Mona was sitting behind their table.
“Oh honey, try not to look so bored. You’ll scare away our customers.” Millie stashed her purchases under the table and resumed her seat. Once again she adjusted her floppy hat and made herself comfortable. “Did we sell anything?”
“No. No sales to report. But I’ve had my eye on those purses down at the far end of this aisle. I’ll take a few minutes to check them out.” Mona reached into her tote bag and withdrew her wallet before setting off in the direction of the purse vendor.
Millie had a lovely time people-watching and enjoyed talking to the few folks who stopped by to browse their shell-work. A short time later Mona returned, balancing several shopping bags that seemed to overflow with her purchases.
“Whatever did you buy?” inquired Millie.
“All kinds of things,” answered Mona. “Got something for each of my granddaughters, a baseball cap for Cary, and a pretty little shawl for Janice. Oh! Wait till you see the most darling little outfit for the new baby-to-be.”
Mona pulled out her purchases for her friend to see. Millie made the appropriate exclamations over the items before Mona unveiled her last purchase.
“Now Millie, wait till you see the purse I bought for myself. It is just me, if you know what I mean.”
Mona unwrapped some tissue paper from around the largest item in her stockpile of purchases to reveal a large purse that could probably double as a small piece of luggage. It was fashioned from a glossy waterproof material in two of the brightest colors imaginable, green and orange, that seemed to have been copied from those Day-Glo colors of the 1970s.
“Well, that certainly is one purse you won’t be able to misplace,” laughed Millie.
“I get so tired of pocketbooks that don’t hold everything I need. This one is just perfect. Look at all the different compartments it has inside.” Mona opened up the handbag so that Millie could check out the interior.
“It does seem roomy.”
“And I love these colors. Coral is just my color and I love that green with it.”
“Then you’ve made a wise purchase,” conceded Millie.
The two friends spent the remainder of their time watching the crowd of shoppers dwindle as the afternoon wore on. In fact, they were laughing and having so much fun that they were hardly aware that over five and a half hours had passed since they’d first arrived.
“Well, I’m all for packing up and going home,” suggested Mona.
“Yes, it seems like most of the crowd has come and gone,” agreed Millie.
In short order the ladies packed up their wares, folded the tables and chairs, and stowed everything in the rear of Millie’s SUV. Once they were in the vehicle Mona pulled out a very thin fold of money.
“Okay then, let’s count our earnings.” She thumbed through the bills and counted, “One, two, three, four, five whole dollars.”
“But we did make that one sale,” pointed out Millie.
“So, we just aren’t cut out to do crafts and expect to make money. What shall we do with our earnings?” Mona had a twinkle in her eyes that Millie caught on to almost immediately.
“I suggest we try out that new ice cream parlor over on Crescent Street. I’ll put in the rest of the money for a couple of sundaes.”
“Wonderful idea! Sitting out in the hot sun has made me parched.”
Millie started up the SUV and they both laughed as they drove off.
Follow The Sun is a copywrited serialized novel by Marion Marchetto.