Natalina was a quick-witted, feisty old broad. She lived alone in a quaint little castle on the edge of Snowmania, but she wasn’t lonely. Natalina had a large, extended family and many friends. She also kept quite busy with charitable causes. One of her favorite philanthropies involved promoting small businesses. Her favorite slogan was, “Nurture your community and it will nurture you!”
Every Sunday, Natalina and her daughters nurtured a specialty bakery on Plumpton Street. They bought donuts for breakfast, tarts for lunch, and cannoli for dinner.
Every Monday, Natalina and her Civic Minded Voters For Honesty, Integrity, & Intelligence, signed up future voters, then adjourned to Gordo & Gordo Taqueria for enchiladas and Margaritas. And, Natalina always bolstered her favorite neighborhood deli on the way home by purchasing a triple-decker ice cream cone.
On Tuesdays, Natalina supported her local mom and pop grocery store. Food shopping days always included a nurturing stop at Lindt Candy Emporium for a pound or two of bonbons.
On Wednesdays Natalina volunteered at a local soup kitchen. After six hours of helping cook, serve, and clean up the huge community meal, she was too tired to go home and cook her own meal, so she often stopped off at The Spicy Meal Ball for pasta; although sometimes she instead supported The Gourmet Veggie Cafe and had a nice healthy salad, followed by a wee slice of pecan-crusted sweet potato pie and a tiny scoop of frozen yogurt.
Thursdays were housecleaning days. Natalina scrubbed, dusted, vacuumed, and polished her little castle until it was squeaky-clean. Once the house was in pristine order, she couldn’t sully her kitchen by cooking in it. Sometimes she would go out to eat, but usually she just called Antonio’s and ordered pizza.
Fridays were Natalina’s “chill” days. She’d spend the day eating junk food and watching Netflix. One simply had to stay home sometimes.
Of course, Saturdays were the best day of the week. They usually involved a road trip and overflowed with family and food and laughter. They whole family would help fill the cash register at Gravy Granny’s Diner before hitting the road. Some of the family members were adventurous and tried Granny’s fried-breakfast skillets, but Natalina always had biscuits and gravy. Lunch was generally a quick snack purchased from a food truck or cart vendor as they strolled through parks or in and out of art galleries. Dinner was an adventure. Every Saturday night the Natalina clan went to some restaurant none of them had previously tried. Sometimes they had to drive as far as 50 miles to make that happen.
Natalina built a fabulous life for herself, and while doing so, still managed to support a good many of the local businesses in her community. And then it happened — one Saturday as she tried to dress, her favorite pants were too tight to zip. The next week, several of her shirts wouldn’t button.
At first Natalina thought it was her imagination, but when garment after garment refused to fit, she had to face the truth: every day when she left her home, somebody broke into her house and alteried her clothing. She called the cops. They laughed at her and told her to diet. Of all the nerve! (She scratched buying tickets to the Policeman’s Annual Crab Feed Fund Raiser off her to-do list.) After all, she was far too busy supporting the community to get fat. She only took one day off a week!
Natalina knew what she had to do — hire a private detective! Of course she hired someone local. He watched her house for a week, and despite the fact that even her trendy jogging suits (which she never jogged in) were also getting smaller, he didn’t catch anyone sneaking in and out of her house. Then he, too, suggested she diet. Natalina realized he must be in league with whoever altered her clothing.
She decided to hire a detective from “away,” but first she had to buy new clothes. Despite being somewhat miffed at her neighbors, she still shopped at local boutiques. Unfortunately, buying new clothes cut down on the amount of money she had to spend in support of the local eateries. It was sad, but what could she do? Wearing clothes in public was polite, and Natalina was never deliberately discourteous.
She wasn’t made of money, so it took her several months to replace her wardrobe. In all that time she only managed to eat out once or twice per week. Sadly, Lindt Candy Emporium and Antonio’s pizza went out of business. New clothing shops opened up in their place. One of them specialized in trendy jogging suits. Natalina bought several.
Once her closest was re-filled, Natalina turned her thoughts to hiring another private detective, but found she had no need. Her clothes had stopped shrinking. She sat and pondered the mystery and in no time the answer came to her. It was the clothing shop owners! They had been jealous because she hadn’t been spending her support dollars evenly!
As I mentioned previously, Natalina was very civic-minded. She forgave the garment shop owners because, after all, they were part of her community and deserved to be nurtured, too. That’s when she realized she needed to support the flower shop, the nail salon, the bookstore, and a variety of other local entrepreneurs. When Natalina started spending her money more judiciously, the clothes shrinkers disappeared, proving her theory. And once again Natalina was content with her fabulous life in her quaint little castle on the edge of Snowmania.