Today's Reading

"That's it. The last on our list." Feeling rather pleased with myself, I started entering newly arrived books into our inventory.

Our library might be small, but folks donate books in good condition on a regular basis, allowing us to have a large inventory. When I'd finished, I browsed the internet for an authentic-looking poodle skirt and saddle shoes.

I purchased a black top and a pink skirt with a black poodle appliqué and gauzy slip underneath. Bobby socks, shoes, and a matching hair ribbon completed the ensemble. Now to relax for two weeks.

After work, I stopped by my parents' house for supper. Tonight was spaghetti night, and my mom made the best sauce. The aroma greeted me the instant I opened the front door. "I'm here."

Mom greeted me with a hug. "I know you're too busy to eat with us most nights, Celia, but you never miss Wednesday night supper. If you did, I'd have to alert the authorities."

She refuses to call me Cee Cee. Says she preferred the name she gave me at birth. "Need any help?"

"You can get your father from his shop. Everything is ready."

I set my purse down and stepped out the back door. Dad's cement block shop takes up half the yard. Mom complains about the ugliness of it, but the shop is his happy place. "Dad?" I entered the dim building. "Supper's ready."

"Oh, good. I just finished my project for your party." He held up a life-size silhouette of a couple dancing. "I'll paint it black and mount it on your dance floor."

"Annie roped you into building it, didn't she?"

"I don't mind. Keeps me busy." He propped the wood piece against the wall. "How's everything?"

"Ready to go." I looped my arm with his and walked back to the house.

As we ate, I told them about all Annie and I had done to make the event a success. "Did you get your puzzle? Remember, it has to be a minimum of 500 pieces."

"Yes, one with vintage cars." Mom passed the bowl of garlic bread.

"And I'm waxing the Buick," Dad said. "You know how I like to show her off."

"Get there early to get a prime parking spot. Maybe you can get close to the pink Cadillac. Everyone will be wanting to look at that car."

"So, why the puzzles?" Mom asked.

"I think it's a way of drawing people together. There's a prize for whoever finishes theirs first." A bobblehead Elvis. "I didn't plan that event, Mrs. Woodworth did. Maybe it started as an event for senior citizens but ballooned into something else."

"That makes sense." She handed me the grated Parmesan cheese.

"Now to pray that everything goes as planned." I did not have good luck on big projects. Please, God, let this time be an exception.


Tonight was the night. Excitement fluttered through my stomach like a hummingbird.

I smoothed my poodle skirt, checked the bow in my hair, and skipped down the stairs. "See you at the party," I called out to my parents. As the one in charge, I needed to arrive early. Way early to make sure vendors, the band, the cars...everything got set up on time.

Oh, the pink Cadillac. I reached across the red velvet rope keeping people from getting too close and stretched out my hand. My ponytail flopped forward, slapping me in the eye.

"Please, don't touch." Dane, looking handsome in his police uniform, grinned. "I just waxed her."

"This is yours?" I widened my eyes and stepped back.

"A hobby I picked up. I've got a Model-T in my garage at the moment. Still needs a lot of work." His eyes narrowed at something over my shoulder. "He belong to you?"

Elvis staggered toward us, a crowd of vendors and owners of vintage cars trailing behind. "Yo." He gave a lopsided grin.

"You're drunk." My breath came in gasps. One of the star attractions of the party could barely stand up. The crowd behind him snickered and pointed. I poked him in the chest. "If you ruin this evening, you'll regret it, that I promise you. Find a way to sober up in the next two hours or I'll clobber you."

He blinked like a sleepy owl. "I only had a sip." He continued his lumbering walk toward the vendor booth selling coffee.

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