After 25 years of working most Saturdays, I’m enjoying having a Saturday off every now and then these days. This morning I had in mind getting a pedicure and manicure and settling in to convert locally grown organic pears into jars of golden jam.
My 14 year old son had other ideas.
“Take me to Academy Sports,” he begged. After about 45 minutes of running out of excuses as to why I didn’t want to take him, I turned his request to my advantage.
“Take your laundry out of the drier, fold it and put it away,” I said. “Pick up all of your clothes up off the bathroom floor and put them in the laundry sorter. Start a load of laundry. And I’ll take you to Academy Sports.”
It’s about 45 – 50 miles from our house to Greenville. We arrived just in time for an early lunch. I’m convinced that 80% of our family income goes to feeding this boy. We went to Red Robin where we ate until we both acknowledged that we wanted to puke.
From there we battled traffic down Woodruff Road to Academy Sports. For a short period of time, we dithered around together along the main aisles, then he left me to go shop for bullets for his deer rifle. I looked at meat-processing equipment, dog items and folding lawn chairs. He and I rendezvoused in the backpack aisle.
We drifted past deer stands and trail cameras and into my personal favorite section–deer lures, where I tend to get a little carried away. For a change, selection and prices were good. Often I shop too early and they don’t have the good stuff in yet. Or I wait too late and the good stuff is picked over.
We discussed a few choices and I started grabbing things. Pretty soon I had to send him for a shopping basket. I bought 3-packs of scent wick dispensers–the kind with a felt wick and a handle that easily hang from a branch. They’re bright orange and easy to retrieve when he you get down from the stand.
I picked up a spray bottle, economy-sized, of a scent eliminator spray.
And, oh, the deer pee!
I bought doe urine and a nifty three pack that includes plain doe urine, doe-in-heat urine and, yes a bottle of buck urine. Great products by my current favorite Code Blue and at a very fine price. The lad and I briefly discussed purchasing a pack of preloaded Tink’s 69 scent dispensers but I balked when I saw that they had to be actived by a chemical heat pack and only lasted for four hours.
The fun part, really, was the check-out line. All the lines were long. We were lucky to be behind a family who, hmm, maybe don’t get to town very often.
The matriarch went nuts over a little display of crazy bands right by the checkout counter.
The boy and I made eye contact and shared a very faint smile when she began to squeal with delight over them. I think I’m short, but the lady was about 4″9″, with a long, black and chemically damaged hair. She had an odd facial structure, a speech impediment and few teeth. And she wore a tee shirt that said “Trailer Park Chihuahua.” It featured some dandy-looking singlewides, two badass chihuahuas and Confederate flags, plus the slogan “the South”s gonna rise again.”
While she and her family ripped through the silly bands (“Look!!! They got all kinds!”) behind us, the daddy in front mumbled something to the effect of “Y’all better get up here ‘fore I haveta pay or you’re gonna be SOL.”
Meanwhile another lady in line wearing her Clemson Tigers game day orange was getting pretty spun up by the lighters shaped like little fishing rods and deer rifles.
“Look!” she hollered to her friend in another checkout line. “It’s a lighter made like a fishing rod!”
“How much is it?”
“We better wait til closer to Christmas.”
The lad and I shared another slight smile and I whispered, “These people obviously don’t get out very much and are excited by the colorful trinkets.”
And I thought we lived in isolation.
The gnomelike woman and her five to seven kids continued to paw through the silly bands and the lady in front of me was still mesmerized by the lighters. “Hey,” she called to her friend again, “The one shaped like a football is only eight dollars.”
All of the sudden a scream ripped the air from a line off to our right. Startled, I started to grab my son and hit the floor. I have a healthy paranoia of being stuck in line somewhere during a holdup.
But the two Hispanic guys standing by the screaming woman started laughing and the woman started loud, fast talking in Spanish, and she was beating both guys with her fists.
“That line over there is moving faster,” my son said.
“Yeah, but this one is way more fun.” I countered. The woman was still cursing those guys when we finally made it through the checkout counter.
We live in a rural area, a bit off the beaten path. At times I am inclined to believe that everyone I meet lives in a trashy home and either cooks meth or makes moonshine in the shed out back. But today, in metropolitan Greenville, I felt rather…sophisticated.
Until I got home and got out of the car.
“Hey, boy,” I yelled to my son, “don’t you leave that pee in the hot car.”