Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I will be re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. The original “It’s Pink, Get Over It!” story posted back in September 2011. It’s been embellished a little since then.
* * *
The West Seattle neighborhood of Fauntleroy complained when the apartment building fell into disrepair. White paint peeled from the walls and paint flakes littered the sidewalk.
The building sold. The neighborhood cheered—until the new owners painted it bubble gum pink.
The neighborhood protested the pink. The owners posted their sign in a discrete location on the main entrance. ‘It’s Pink, Get Over It!’
It was the shot heard round the neighborhood.
After many protests, the owners compromised and made the building two-tone with white trim. The sign disappeared from the door.
* * *
“Fannie, I’m going up to Seattle, do you want to come?” Richard asked. He jingled the keys to the Love Wagon, a red Ford F150 with queen futon and disco ball in the back, like a carrot.
“Are you driving by the pink apartment building?”
“Of course,” he said.
* * *
May 1st brought warmth, flowers, bees, and thoughts of barbecuing.
“Fannie, what do you think about fixing up the old picnic table, it could use a good coat of paint.” Richard rubbed his hands together. His blue eyes softening to the melt-my-knees look.
“That’s a great idea,” I said. My Aunt Verla and Uncle Carl would be thrilled we revived my grandparents’ picnic table the next time they dropped by. Of course, they didn’t want to move it when they sold us the house, so we have to match the color or Aunt Verla will hatch a chicken.
“Let’s get some paint,” said Richard.
The Love Wagon rolled into the parking lot in front of Gig Harbor’s Ace Hardware. I jumped down from the passenger side. If I was five inches taller, I wouldn’t have to leap. Thank god it’s not a 4 x 4.
Richard lead the way into the store. People stared at us. I know folks, we look odd together. He’s a foot and a half taller than me, we’re not the side show.
“May I help you?” the young man behind the paint counter asked.
“Yes, we need a gallon of reddish-brown flat exterior paint,” Richard said.
“Follow me,” he said, leading us to the paint chips. “We have several shades of reddish-brown to choose from. Which one would you like?”
“Oh, Richard, this one looks perfect. What do you think?” I could imagine my aunt and uncle doing selfies with the picnic table so they could one-up my mom and dad. Note to self call mom once the table’s done.
“That’s it,” Richard said. Richard handed the clerk the paint chip.
“Do you have any more shopping to do?” the clerk asked. “I can get this mixed and have it ready by the time you’re done.”
“That’d be great,” Richard said.
We finished our shopping, picked up our paint, and checked out.
* * *
We did not get around to painting the table until May 31st.
Richard walked out of the garage with the gallon bucket of paint. I followed with the new paint brushes, stir stick ,and a couple of rags. Our neighbor, Bunny Gutierrez, her long blond hair pulled into a pony tail, dropped by for a quick inspection. She followed us into the back yard.
When Richard opened the can of paint, a flood-light shade of hot pink glowed from the can.
Bunny took a step back. She said, with her refined Texas accent, “Whoa, honey, that’s pink.” The tone of her voice thudding like a dropped weight at pink.
The smile on my face ended up somewhere in Argentina. I raked my fingers through my short brown hair. “Richard, this doesn’t jive with our reddish-brown paint chip.” My family will never let me hear the end of this.
“Fannie, I am not waiting any longer to paint this table. Besides, it’s pink, get over it,” he said. His devilish grin spread across his face. The devil and the angel on his shoulders high-fived.
Richard dipped the brush. He said, “It’s pink, get over it.” He’s tall lean frame shook, the laughter leaked through his pursed lips.
I grabbed my brush. If I’m gonna get hell for this, I’m gonna have a little fun.
With each stroke, Richard and I said, ‘It’s pink, get over it.”
We laughed until tears streamed down our faces and neither of us could paint in a straight line.
After ten minutes, Bunny said, with annoyance, “Darlings, there’s something seriously wrong with y’all.” Twang warped her refined Texas accent. Her blond pony tail wagging out of alignment.
The table morphed from ancient picnic table to Las Vegas showgirl. I should call my younger sister and borrow her Bedazzler.
I called my mother the next day. Aunt Verla called twenty minutes later. The scorching they unleashed faded after three days.
* * *
Richard’s birthday appeared on the calendar. Still hung up on the pink paint, I wrapped Richard’s birthday present—a pair of Levi’s—in a hot pink bag. After searching the local Hallmark, I found a birthday card with a cow wearing a hot pink sombrero.
I wrote, ‘Happy Birthday, Richard, it’s pink, get over it. Love, Fannie’. How could he want for anything more?
The day after the party, I penned Richard’s thank you notes for him. I used a pink gel pen for writing my thank you note.
Richard thanked me for my creativity in wrapping and the generosity of the gift and all the wonderful years we’ve had together and a promise to wear the jeans every day until they could walk away on their own.
I handed him the cards to sign.
He signed my card last. The pink ink caught his attention. He read the note. “Hey,” he said, looking hoodwinked. “What’s all this crap about?”
“Crap,” I said, with a smile, “what crap? Weren’t those the exact words you would use, if you wrote it?”
“Until the jeans walk away by themselves. And in pink?” Richard asked, his voice rose slightly. He leaned forward, waved the card, and stared at me.“It’s not working is it?” he asked, leaning back in his chair. He tilted his head to one side.
I laughed. “No, but I want you to know I shall cherish the card always.”
“You do that,” he said. He pinched his lips together.
“Besides, it’s pink, get over it.” My greens eyes danced. I know he won’t be able to let that go.
His face flickered. He smiled. “You know, we still have some pink paint left. What if we use it for a tombstone at Halloween?”
“That would get the neighbors talking,” I said. The image of Bunny’s pony tail going out of alignment when she saw it made me laugh.
“Let’s do it,” he said.
* * *
In celebration of Halloween, we covered the yard in tombstones.
The neighbors followed the self-guided tour. Above the laughter we could hear voices saying, “It’s pink, get over it!”