New Kitchen Tiles

Five minutes before the agreed time of my appointment[1], I parked my car in one of the “vendors & visitors” lots of the construction company in the small village L. Within three minutes I was in their new office, drinking a cup of coffee.

“So”, concluded the contractor, glancing at his watch, “You’ve managed to find us!” ‘Well”, I replied, “if necessary, I’ll drive this road blindfolded!” “Amazing”, said my interlocutor, “the first time most visitors pass us by unnoticed. Or even the entire village!” “My wife originates from L.”, I said, solving the problem. “May I ask your wife’s name?” I told him. “Oh”, the contractor answered, “then I know her! And then I also know your parents in law very well!” He looked out of the window and undeniably dug in his memory: “That has been quite a while”. He turned his head in my direction: “A highly appreciated couple. They even lived almost next door to us for a few years” and “I have great respect for your father in law. He never had much money, but yet he succeeded in pulling his family through hard times”. He added: “Later on he even bought a home!” “Yes”, I confirmed, mentioning the name of the street as well as the number of the house. “Exactly! One day he came to pay me a visit”, he continued, “he needed pavement tiles for the scullery kitchen”. For a while the contractor gazed out of the window again, as if the continuing of the story was written somewhere outside. Facing me again, smiling because of the upcoming memory: “I calculated him a price for the tiles, but he did not want to pay that. “Half” he said. I sure wanted to allow him a discount, because he did a lot for our village, so I said: “All right! But then you will not get that number of tiles but a few less. Will you then still be able to pave your floor?” Your father in law looked at me satisfactory, shook my hand to seal the deal and said, good-humoured: “I am sure I can. I’ll just make the pointing a bit wider!”

[1] I was a loan officer for a Dutch bank.

4 thoughts on “New Kitchen Tiles

  1. Good morning Johan,

    Your nice short story reminded me of the time when I would go to buy material for the ruin I had bought in 1981. The floor was a hand formed and sun dried tile which had footprints of birds, cats, and even a dog. The workman wanted to hide these “bad” tiles in the corner but I said no. That big dog paw got a place in front of my fireplace.
    A very nice website you have made here, it will be a joy for all who love reading.

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Thank you for your comment and for sharing the thoughts/memories it gave you! That is one of many reasons I write!
      I hope you will visit again,
      greetings from the Netherlands
      Johan Wijngaarden

  2. Nice story, good memories !
    Reading through it puts a clear picture of what transpired.
    well done!

    1. Thank you once more for your encouragement, Joyce! The story was first published in my book Spookloper. In Dutch… It will be translated for my newest English book, which is not ready yet…
      Greetings from the Netherlands,
      Johan Wijngaarden

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