The purchase of waterless cookware deserves more attention in view of the problems it caused. The actual door the salesman knocked on was not ours. It was my Uncle Parnell’s where we’d spent a couple of days . That morning, we were to journey on to my maternal grandmother’s, a trip Daddy had put off as long as possible. While he would have never given in to his impulse to shoot Grandma, I don’t think Daddy would’ve grieved too deeply had he backed over her. At any rate, I’m sure that salesman was thrilled. The spiel went on for hours. Daddy would talk to anyone who’d listen, determined to ferret out a shared acquaintance. Eventually, the salesman caught on and acknowledged a nebulous connection, realizing the sale hung on it. Daddy bought that damned cookware, a three-hundred -seventy-five dollar purchase, at a time when his net pay was a bit over a hundred a week. Mother was furious, first at the delay in leaving for Grandma’s, then at the outrageous purchase, not knowing the full disaster that was about to befall.
The salesman, who we forever afterward referred to as Mr. Pots, told Daddy Mother should launch a career selling waterless cookware, an idea Daddy quickly seconded. He’d always felt Mother could contribute more if she’d just “get organized.” She had nothing but leisure with five children, house and farm chores which included milking a cow, gardening, and food preservation. In her spare time, she sewed everything she and the girls wore. I don’t know why he’d put up with her laziness that long.
Mother hit the ceiling. “I am not selling that mess!” Her rotten attitude dashed no one’s hopes. The upshot was, Daddy invited Mr. Pots to come stay with us for a week or so and induct Mother into sales. Mr. Pots eagerly accepted, glad to find a man who could bully his wife lining his own pockets.
A week later, Mr. Pots showed up, laden with Daddy’s cookware. Daddy was appalled and embarrassed that Mother stuck to her guns, after he’d set this up for her benefit. Mr. Pots moved into my unfortunate brother’s room. Daddy gave Mr. Pots a list of possible victims and Mr. Pots was off, without Mother as his protege. There wasn’t a lot of warmth in our home that week. Daddy was furious he hadn’t been able to force Mother into sales. She’d failed him. Mother was was enraged that Daddy had once again proved himself an insensitive ass.
Everyone was glad to see the last of Mr. Pots. Eventually, the cookware was paid off.