The African Mask


I am a creature of habit.  I do not like change.  My Daddy is an architect, and when I was seven years old, he bartered his architecture services for a share in a condo at Litchfield Beach, SC. That condo is where I still vacation every year, even now, 38 years later. I am telling you, I do not like change.  My husband and even my Mothah, at times, have tried to talk me into going to another beach, just for a change of scenery, but I will not.  I also like to go to pretty much the same restaurants and the same shops, but I am willing to try new restaurants and shops.  When we first got married, it took JC a little while to accept his beach vacation fate.  At first he tried to fight it, and then finally he succumbed, realizing that there was simply no point in fighting me.  The place is basically free to us to stay in!  It is not on the beach.  We do have to drive to the beach, but there is also a pool, which is great with the kids.  It has been my home away from home for 38 years, and well, I am just not willing to let it go. Like ever. Forget it.   I will stay at other places at Litchfield in addition to  the condo–say if we are going to stay there for two weeks, which we have done before.  I just only like Litchfield, and that is all.

For a time, we started taking day trips to Charleston, SC, which is about an hour away from Litchfield.  Our ancestahs basically stahted Chahleston, so there is a lot of family history there for us to dig up.  We also like to eat at Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, since that’s MiniMe’s actual name. (Jack. Not Cosmic Dog)  This particular year, though, may have been before Mini Me was even born.  Mothah and I had dragged JC to Chahleston.  JC actually did not mind going to Chahleston, so long as we did not make him go shopping.  So, we ended up at the Open Air Market, of course!  I love the art, jewelry, etc. And I love the wheelin’ and dealin’ that you can do with some of the vendors.

JC had tired of Mothah and me, not surprisingly, and had gone off on his own.  Mothah and I came upon a booth of wonderful African masks.  My brother happened to love those damn things.  “Jennifah, I should get one of these for youah brothah for Christmas, ” Mothah said to me.  “Yes, I think he would love one,” I said.  I took Mothah off to the side and told her that I was going to make the man an offer and see if he would bargain with me.  Mothah got all excited.  She loves a sale.  I asked her which one she wanted to buy and she told me.  “Step aside,” I said, like a seasoned wheeler and dealer.  I walked up to the man and asked to see the particular mask.  I held it in my hands. It was, and is beautiful.  “I will give you $60 for it,” I said. “$60? You have a deal, ” the man said.  About that time, Mothah jumped in and yelled out, “WAIT! I’LL GIVE YOU $65!” I just stood there and hung my head and then I just shook my head.  I looked up.  “Just let her have it,” I said.  I walked off and watched her pay for that damn mask.  When she was finished, I said, “Just what in the fuck was that?” She looked at me and said, “Do not use that language with me, Jennifah. I didn’t want him to sell it to you!”  I just stood there.  “I was going to let YOU buy it at that price,” I said, ” I did not WANT to buy the fucking thing in the first place!”  I think I may have had smoke billowing out of my ears.  She said, “I already said don’t talk to me like that, Jennifah. I do not like the F word. I’m sorry! I got carried away! I like bargaining too! I’m glad it was only $5 difference!”  Then we both started laughing.  That was the last time we ever went to the Open Air Market.  I think that may have been the last time I have been inside the city limits of Chahleston, for that matter.  I doubt JC will ever go back with us again.  Who, in their right mind, would?

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