Within a couple of weeks, Lois had ordered a selection of vinyls, synthetic leathers and cording and set aside a couple of racks for car restoration fabrics. And my beloved spouse further inspired us when he mentioned the Hot Rod and Classic Car Show at our local arts center this August. We decided to set up a booth, just to get some name recognition. Oui, mes amis, we were even willing to brave that frightening country where the natives said incomprehensible things like "hemi" and "Shelby" and "R-code." Not to mention the horrors of automotive exhaust upon one's hair-do! But it was all in the service of a larger ambition.
I found myself in the car section of the library, foraging for anything about interiors and upholstery. The cookbook section was just one aisle over, so I’d read about headliners and bench seats for a while, then sneak over and peruse 100 Sumptuous Desserts for Celebrating Life’s Triumphs by Ample Butters. I could feel insulin shock lurking in my near future, mes amis, but the recipes got me through some arduous reading. And a side benefit of my research was being able to appreciate all the hard work Filthy had done on his automotive projects. I was still not what you’d call a car enthusiast, my little bon bons, but I could no longer dismiss anything with four wheels as gauche.
We were on our way to establishing a larger clientele. And, if it had been up to little old us, the ladies of the Arvada Hancock Fabrics would have continued to revel in our own cleverness and entrepreneurial spirit.
Of course, it was not entirely up to us, and we soon found that not everyone at Hancock Fabrics appreciated our gumption. Within the week, Lois received a very austere email from our corporate headquarters, essentially putting us back in our taffeta-lined niche.
“Individual stores are not authorized to make substantial changes in inventory without a corresponding vision plan from the corporate office. Please see this year’s brochure, “A World of Color.” A corporate representative will evaluate your present stock and recommend any necessary changes.”
So, basically we weren’t trusted to wipe our own derrieres anymore. Our emails went unanswered. Lois tried to contact headquarters and explain our situation. She was redirected and redirected until she ended up talking to the head custodian. Mr. Chambers was a very nice man who was restoring a '67 Mustang. He was behind us all the way, but then he had to put more toilet paper in the ladies' washroom. We weren't any closer to our goal.
Taffy said we should gather all our loved ones and best customers, then storm headquarters, until we reminded her that her hubby Ken looked like the Unabomber, and would only get us into more trouble. All we could do was wait for Hancock Fabrics’ avenging angel to arrive.
Darlings, we tried not to feel too demoralized, but even my Butterscotch
Tam O’Shanters were no match for our dark mood. Suzette took
it especially hard; after all, this expansion of our clientele had
been her idea. I had to sequester her in the patterns section the
day the email arrived, just so she wouldn’t burst into tears
in front of the customers. Darlings, it was so hard to let go. After
all, for a brief moment, we had experienced the exhilaration of taking
our own fate into our hands.