Longtime readers of this column will remember that Nosey Nelida Macamora received an invitation to the White House. Nelida owned a business on a rather downtrodden strip mall. She lived in back of her shop. One day she saw suspicious activity at a business on the other end of the parking lot. Nelida, who had been known as “Nosey Nelida” since third grade, called the government hotline and told the operator what she’d seen.
The operator, who was aware of a government “sting” operation to catch drug dealers, put Nelida’s call through to someone who, upon hearing Nelida’s story, put her through to the White House. A staff member congratulated her and invited her to Washington, D.C. to receive a citizen’s citation. Nelida met the President and told him she was going to remain alert. After she’d left, the President told his staff, “Keep an eye on her.”
While Nelida was in Washington, D.C., the government executed the sting operation and grabbed up the drug dealers. The raid was kept out of the mass media, so on her return Nelida assumed that good had triumphed over evil and went on with her life.
A few weeks later someone opened a shop a few doors down from Nelida’s. His name was Guy Winterton. Guy was a bachelor and was a couple of years older than Nelida. A few days after Guy opened his shop, Nelida came to the front door. She was carrying a paper sack with handles.
“I’m Nelida, I have the shop next door,” she said. “I hope you like homemade strawberry jam.”
“Homemade strawberry jam is my favorite,” said Guy. “Please come in.” Nelida stepped in to Guy’s shop and, being Nelida, looked carefully around. Guy stocked a variety of gadgets and gizmos for people who were good with their hands. He had pocketknives, sandpaper, screwdrivers, hammers, mallets, small sanding machines, and the like.
“I noticed the other day that you don’t have any merchandise on the top shelf of your shop,” Guy said.
I’m too short to reach the top shelf,” said Nelida.
“Maybe I can help out with that,” said Guy.
A few days later Guy walked in carrying what looked like a long wooden stick. There was a metal doo-dad—a kind of holder—on the end of the stick. Guy walked to one of Nelida’s shelves and picked up a quart of jam. He fitted the jar carefully in to the metal. The holder grasped the jam jar firmly but safely. Guy picked up the pole, swung it upright, and deposited the jar on the top shelf. He twisted the metal handle at the bottom of the pole and released the jam. It sat snugly and safely on the top shelf.
“I’ll put some more bottles up on the shelf. When you want them, just reach up and grasp them with this gadget,” said Guy.
“Here, you try it, it’s really easy once you catch on.”
Nelida, with some hesitancy, picked up the gadget. Guy helped her secure a bottle of jam in the claw. Then he assisted while she swung the jar up to the top shelf.
“Now just place it lightly on the shelf and twist the release handle,” said Guy.
When the jar was safely on the shelf, Nelida smiled. “Wow,” she said. “it worked.”
“Good job,” said Guy. “Try another one.”
After that, Nelida and Guy became close. Sometimes she fixed dinner, sometimes he did. They liked the same television shows.
One day Guy said, “Nelida, there’s a wall between us.”
“The wall between our two apartments,” said Guy. “I’m good with my hands.”
Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co