New furniture has international flair

My wife gave me my top priority. I had returned early from a family vacation to go back to work. My evening hours were free for honey-doozies.

“Just get the beds situated.”

With two toddlers’ graduating from cribs to twin beds, the task involved an acquisition: I needed to buy a bunk bed.

Unequivocally opposed to paying retail or sales tax, I scoured Craigslist, the modern classified ad sheet which looks like the world’s first Web site. I e-mailed my better half several options.

“Not interested.” “Not interested.” “Not interested.” Then, finally, “I like it.”

I moved on it, emailing Raj, the owner, for a few more pics. He gave me directions to his home near Sea World, the area where 9 out of 10 San Antonio Craigslist items seem to originate. We agreed to meet the following day.

As I strolled up the front walk, I noticed worn sandals on the porch and a pouch of spice over the door. A man came to the door. “Raj” was clearly not short for “Roger.”

I love people of Indian descent. My grad school class was full of them: Mahesh, Manish, Mohsin, Amit, Senthil. Their uplifting personalities aromated the atmosphere. They’d do anything for you, especially if it involved Microsoft Excel. Our modern progress is significantly attributable to bright minds like theirs.

Raj invited me in to see the bed. It had been reverse engineered and stacked against the wall with all hardware secured in a glass Complan jar (“complete planned food in a drink … with 23 vital nutrients”). According to the label, Heinz India Ltd. manufactures Complan in Mumbai. It’s their ketchup, I concluded.

Not until I had loaded the wooden frames into my SUV and began the drive home did I noticed a smell: curry. 

I had noticed a slight curry scent when I entered Raj’s home, but it was less strong than some Indian homes I’ve entered. I had examined every corner of the disassembled bed for structural and cosmetic deficiencies. I never thought to smell it.

By the time I got home, I knew something had to be done. Among Clorox bleach, Old English orange-scented polish, and something called Odo-Ban, you would think the stench would be cured. Not curry.

“The only way to get that out is to bake it at 350 degrees,” one smart Alec friend suggested. It was worth a try.

The headboards and footboards looked like solar panels across my front lawn for the next two days. I even went home over lunch to flip them. But if it helped the smell, I couldn’t tell. 

My family’s return was imminent. Those three-year-olds would need a place to sleep. I took the plunge and installed the curry-scented structure, planning my explanation: “The bed is made from a rare wood found only in the Far East.”

The kids loved their bed. My better half graciously joined in their excitement. When the joyful reunion died down, I felt the question coming from a woman with extraordinary olfactory senses.

“You bought this from an Indian family, didn’t you?”

Miraculously, the question never came; only a memory of a piece of wisdom posted in the kitchen of my youth:

“Worry is the advance price you pay for troubles that may never come.”


Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at

4 Responses to “New furniture has international flair”

  1. 1 Brandi August 27, 2013 at 22:18

    Cracking up! The things I worry about that my spouse might get frustrated with seem to never come to fruition. It’s the things I don’t worry about that bite me in the butt. Loved it.

  2. 2 Angie August 27, 2013 at 22:56

    Hilarious! Well done, friend! And next time – try vinegar? Or baking soda? Or both if you like science experiments?

  3. 3 Bennye Waskom August 29, 2013 at 00:01

    Maybe she just picks her battles???

  4. 4 jessestroup August 29, 2013 at 10:20

    i laughed and laughed all through this article. It is wonderful to know the characters.  I love your writing. Jesse

      Jesse R. Stroup Director of Spiritual Care Lifeline Chaplaincy 2777 Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 1020 Dallas, TX 75207 214-678-0303


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