Pic 'n Save Mistletoe
A cold spell swooped down on Christmas Eve the year I was eleven.
It was north Florida, and every December I could remember up until that point was warm enough to run around outside in shorts. But on this day, we wore Toughskins and wind breakers as we headed away from our neighborhood into the woods in search of mistletoe.
I was with my best friend Curtis. After about an hour of climbing through tops of trees, we ran back to my house to make a handmade sign, and then set up shop at a busy corner near the entrance of our neighborhood where we sold the goods. A few hours passed with only one customer, and we were just about to give up and go home when a man pulled up. There were four girls in his truck who giggled at me from the warmth of their vehicle while Curtis did the selling. And boy did he sell.
“This looks like a fresh batch. Did you get it today?” asked the man.
“Sure did. Right back there in them woods over yonder.” Curtis said, pointing to the dark trees behind the Pic ‘n Save.
The man looked through the canvas sack surveying different branches. “Well it looks fine, but how do I know that it works?” He asked.
“Oh it works.” Curtis said. “Just last week the Johnsons threw a party at their house, and over every doorway there was some of this here mistletoe from those woods. Mister, there was more kissing going on at that party than any party in the history of this neighborhood. Now I ain’t saying that it’s magic or anything, but the mistletoe from those woods–it’s definitely special. If you don’t want to be kissed, you might not want to buy any.”
The man let out a big laugh. “How much for the whole lot, then?”
Curtis looked over at me as if to ask whether I had an idea of how much a sack of mistletoe was worth.
“How about twenty dollars?” The man said.
We took it. “Merry Christmas!” the truck full of girls yelled as their dad drove away. Then Curtis and I went into that Pic 'n Save, bought gifts for our families, and walked back home through the twilight of Christmas Eve.
Jim Mitchem's story, "Pic 'n Save Mistletoe," was selected by Richland Library as part of this Short Édition collection.