…Of we went: me chattering away at nothing and Gerard becoming increasingly irritated and impatient with my bantering. Finally, for what seemed an interminable amount of time, we reached his street. Gerard’s family also lived in one of those two story, really one and a half storied, houses that they built in the years following World War Two. The long slanted roof in the front with a dormer hanging off the back. Basement? Yes, but unlike today’s show homes these basements were designed for utility and functionality, not showiness or pretentiousness.
Finally, I thought. Get the caramels and get the hell out of here and get home. It was getting colder and the afternoon sunlight growing weaker with every passing minute.
“Okay Gerard, what now?” I stammered
“Don’t worry, it’s coming all right.” he said “The caramels are here but before I can show you where they are I have to get the driveway clear of snow. My dad will not let us in until that job is done.”
What? I just about cried to myself. What is this all about? Here I walked home from school with Gerard, miles out of my way carrying his school stuff and now this. Okay, let us get the shovels and get this done. “Are you sure about the caramels Gerard?”
With shovel in hand I began clearing the drive. From his garage back to the street we shovelled. Gerard then proceeded to tell me that he had to go inside to talk with his pop about my share of the caramels. “Just carry on with your work and I’ll be out in a few minutes.”
“Is there is a problem,” I asked nervously, “with my share of the caramels?”
“Well, Gilly, you see, these are very special caramels. Not just for anyone. These caramels were made and delivered for the O’Neill family. So, you see, I cannot just give you a box or two without permission. But don’t worry, it will be fine. You’ll see.
I was somewhat perplexed by all of this. Secret caramels? Special delivery. Marked for the “O’Neill’s Mouth’s Only.” What on earth gives here? Have I been taken for a fool? Don’t answer that I thought to myself. Okay, let’s get on with clearing this driveway. At least they had proper shovels here at the O’Neill’s abode.
I say this because at my house my Dad, in his wisdom, thought it would build character if I shovelled our driveway with a garden spade. I am not kidding. Our driveway was very long with a double wide width as one approached our double garage. Interestingly, but we were the only house in the area with a two car garage. Of course we were.
On I went. That shovel was in perpetual motion, snow flying everywhere as if I was blowing it off to the sides. I could feel my whole frame loosen up with sweat beginning to brew from every pore of my body. And before one could say “Frosty” I was nearing the end of the driveway by the roadway. Yet no sign of Gerard. What gives I thought. Just then a truck pulled up and dumped off what appeared to me to be a mountain of newspapers. Hundreds it seemed. No thousands. The city’s afternoon edition, no doubt. For what it’s worth, at least the way I was feeling right about now, it appeared to me that there was one for every soul on the planet.
Just as I was throwing, pushing the last bit of snow into the drainage ditch, Gerard came out of the house, very, very excited.
“You’ll never guess what happened?” he reported
Before I could get an answer out of my feebleness mouth he continued.
“It’s in the bag Gilly, no, sorry, box. A special consignment of caramels just came in last night from my uncle. Turns out, there were too many boxes and we were told that we could do what we wanted with the extra lot.” As he said this, his eyes seem to bulge out somewhat, Feldman like, with, what seemed to me a wicked smile from ear to ear, not unlike the “Joker,” open though, showing a mouth full of caramel coloured teeth.
“You know what that means Gilly?” He shook my arm enthusiastically.
“No what?” I didn’t know what, or squat, for that matter.
“More for you. All you can carry. But first and foremost and before I can let you into the house to get your full share I have to get these papers delivered.”