The Pepper Song

Yesterday I wrote about going to the store when the only thing I needed to buy was pepper. I could’ve put off the visit to the store until I needed more than pepper, but I wanted the human interaction. That’s warped, I know.

Wanna know what’s even more warped? Instead of going to a supermarket or a Dollar Store, I went into Walmart. For one item. What kind of idiot goes to Walmart for one item? Of course, I ended up buying cat food and bananas and deodorant and something else I can’t recall.

But I digress. The important thing is that as I was walking from my car into the store I made up a pepper song. It’s probably the best song I’ve ever heard, and it goes like this:

“The Pepper Song”

I’m just here for the pepper

My favorite spice

I eat it on everything

‘Cause it makes everything nice.

Don’t be hating my pepper

Or warning me off

It makes me sneeze sometimes

But never makes me cough

Brilliant, right?

Peace, people!

Holding Space

Several days ago I was at a Tallahassee Walmart in search of a replacement charging cord for my iPhone. It seems my youngest cat had decided the existing cord was her personal chew toy and had rendered it a danger to both of us.

The young man who assisted me in the electronics department was the kind of guy one just instantly liked. He wore a genuine smile and seemed knowledgeable. Within a very few minutes he’d made a couple of suggestions and I was ready to check out.

As we finished my transaction an older man in a wheelchair rolled up behind me. My young salesman addressed the man saying, “Hey Super Dave! Where have you been? I’ve been worried about you!”

Super Dave grinned from ear to ear, “I was having some problems with my breathing, but I think we got it fixed up for now.”

I noted his oxygen tank and the hose clamped to his nose. He had the look of a grizzled veteran who’d perhaps fallen on hard times. The salesman came around the counter and shook Dave’s hand.

“Glad to hear that man. You’ve got to take care of yourself.”

Then he turned to me and said, “Super Dave is my man, don’t you know.”

Super Dave beamed. This young man had held space for him in his heart when maybe no one else did. I’ll be honest, I walked away with a tear in my eye.

Peace, people.

Snapshot #201

Usually my snapshot blog posts are of pretty things: flowers, pajamas, winged insects, etc. Today’s offering, though, is just gross.

See that mucus-y blob on my rear view mirror? I’m calling this one, “Look! A Loogie!”

The great glob of spit wasn’t there when I locked my car and went into a Walmart in Tallahassee, but it was gleaming at me when I returned with my purchases. I’m fairly certain the culprit was the man who was parked next to me and gave me a withering look that was perhaps prompted by my T-shirt:

I guess he’s just not ready to give peace a chance.

Peace, people.

A Metaphor?

Monday is laundry day. Now that there are just two of us in the Doright household the chore isn’t nearly as tedious as it once was. I still don’t love doing laundry, but I don’t mind it nearly as much.

Once the final load was in the dryer I drove into Tallahassee for a few necessities. Normally I avoid the big retailer (aka Walmart), but it was the nearest store that was sure to have everything I needed.

When I entered the store I was looking for just three items, so I didn’t grab a shopping cart. Can you believe how naive I still am at the ripe old age of 61.5? One doesn’t simply shop at Walmart without a cart.

As my arms became overburdened with just discovered “must haves” I began looking for an abandoned cart. As luck would have it, I found one just around the corner from the Preparation H aisle. Don’t ask, but yes, that was one of my necessities. Damned diverticulitis.

It didn’t take me long to realize why the cart had been abandoned:

That annoying intermittent sound (much louder in real life than in the above video) was my cart. The darned thing handled like a two ton tank that every few feet emitted an awful buzz causing fellow shoppers to wince and/or laugh out loud. A small child began crying as I approached.

I guess I could have abandoned the cart as its previous operator had done, but I decided to embrace it instead, quirky sound effects and all. As I wrestled my noisy cart around the store, adding milk and cat treats and plain yogurt and bananas and yes, Preparation H, among other things, I began to think of the cart as a metaphor for life:

“The road we travel isn’t always peaceful or smooth, but if you keep pushing, eventually you’ll get to lay down your load.”

Okay, that’s a crummy metaphor, but what are you going to do? Sue me?

Peace, people.

An Entry into the Realm of WTF

Remember buying candy cigarettes? I do. I’d walk around pretending to inhale before dramatically exhaling, sometimes imagining elegant smoke rings emanating from the tip of my fake filtered Winston.

Even as a child I knew that was rather messed up. We didn’t yet have the surgeon general’s warning on actual packs of smokes, but my mom still lied to her mom about smoking, so why was it okay for me to make-believe I smoked?

Candy cigarettes didn’t even taste good. I’m fairly certain they could’ve substituted for blackboard chalk in a pinch, but that never deterred me from indulging my fantasy addiction. Thank goodness they became politically incorrect and disappeared from store shelves. For the record, I’ve never smoked. Maybe they acted as a deterrent.

At least candy cigars had some flavor. They were bubble gum, though, rather than candy. One might still be able to purchase candy cigars. Perhaps Prince Charles handed some out after the birth of the newest royal baby. I revel in that image.

There are still candies, though, that defy good taste. Like these I discovered in Walmart yesterday afternoon.

Apparently the candy “Zits” are stuck onto one’s face, then popped, and the resulting substance eaten. I say apparently because I’m not going to test them out. I feel like gagging.

Quick, I need a smoke.

Peace, people.

Exactly What I Was Looking For

I stopped in at a Walmart yesterday. Not the brightest move I’ve ever made, I must admit. All the usual Christmas craziness was on parade: bright-eyed children asking, no, pleading, for toys. Harried moms of all shapes, ages, and ethnicities asking, no, pleading for them to be good for just a few more days. Weary clerks just waiting for their shifts to end.

And there I was, an island of calm in the midst of chaos. All I needed was a bag of pecan halves to make my famous pecan pie for Christmas dinner. Ten minutes should have been sufficient for this errand.

Finding the pecans seemed simple enough, except all of the bags I found on the baking aisle were pecan pieces. I insist on pecan halves because they rise so beautifully to the top during baking. Almost like magic.

I couldn’t find a clerk, so I wandered to a center aisle thinking the pecan halves might’ve been moved to a holiday display. I found a likely looking spot, but at first glance, not the right pecans. A pleasant, well groomed woman, maybe a few years my senior, was also perusing the display.

“Excuse me,” I said, “Have you seen any pecan halves? All I can find are the pieces.”

With a bit of a flourish she lifted a bag from a lower shelf. “Voila!”

“Thank you!” I said. “These are exactly what I was looking for!”

I began to turn away, when the woman said, “You could make divinity with the leftover pecans.”

“I suppose I could,” I said. “But my husband won’t eat divinity and I’d end up eating the entire batch.”

She laughed. “My husband only wants cherry pie for Christmas dessert. I used to make pecan pies for our son and grandson, though.”

Again I started to turn away, but she said, “They we’re both killed in a car accident. On the interstate between Jacksonville and Orlando.”

My heart lurched, and time stopped. “I’m so sorry. How long ago?”

“Four years. My grandson was just twelve. I think about them both every day.”

Then she told me how an erratic driver, lane surfing had taken the lives of two of the people most precious to her. He’d had multiple tickets for a variety of violations, but still had a license.

I hugged this stranger. In the middle of Walmart beside shelves of pecan halves and pecan pieces we stood and cried.

She apologized for upsetting me. “I can’t believe I just told all this to a stranger,” she said. “But I think all of my friends are sick of hearing how sad I am. They want me to get over it, or to at least stop talking about it.”

“Sometimes a stranger is just the right person to talk to,” I said. “I’m glad I came in search of pecans. Thanks again for helping me.”

She hugged me again and we wished each other a Merry Christmas. She and her husband were going to her daughter’s home for Christmas dinner, she told me. She assured me she’d be all right. “You found the right pecans, but I found the right stranger,” she said.

We never know, do we? In the rush of the day, in the quest for some mundane object, we might find not only what we need, but be the answer to someone else’s need. Slow down. Listen. Be present. You might find exactly what you’re looking for.

Peace, people.

Breath Mints and Poop Emojis

Wednesday mid-morning I was bumming around the house. Boredom set in. I knew that if I didn’t get out of the house as soon as possible I’d be reduced to watching crappy morning tv shows and snacking, neither of which are healthy hobbies.

So, I threw on a pair of denim capris and my favorite blue tshirt and headed to my go to boredom beating destination: Walmart. The best thing about Walmart is that you can have a good time even if you don’t spend a dime. That should be their slogan. Walmart: Have a Good Time Without Spending a Dime! Ok, I guess advertising isn’t my thing. 

Since I didn’t have anything in particular to shop for I wandered around in circles for awhile, picking up a new water dish for my cats, a couple of really cheap picture frames ($1.59 folks!), and some breath mints. Bitches never have enough breath mints. (I’ve been dying to type that phrase. I have no idea why.)

As usual Walmart had its amusing moments. Did you know that bean bag chairs in the shape of the 💩 (poop) emoji exist? Me neither! But look:

As bean bag chairs go, it was small. Child-sized. What kind of parent buys a poop emoji bean bag chair for their child? An awesome one, for sure.

As luck would have it I saw this hanging out beside the checkout line, right next to the small packages of Cheet-Os and Doritos. This made me giggle out loud.

Can’t you just picture Trump skulking around the White House in the middle of the night? He’s wielding a baseball bat as Ivanka cowers in fear behind him. 

“Are you sure you heard a noise,” he asks his beloved daughter/acting First Lady.

“Yes, father, it sounded like it was coming from the press room.”

The two peer into the murky space and what do they see? Big Bird and Elmo busily texting Putin. Yes, that’s why Trump really wants to defund NPR and PBS! Damned muppet spies! 

The fearless leader whacks both of them with the bat and Ivanka assists in removing all traces of their bloody deaths. Russian spies gone for good.

See, I told you Walmart is a great boredom beater! Now, go have an awesome day.

Peace, people!

Walmart Proposal or Finally Hitting the Big Time

Studly Doright and I have been married for more than 39 years now. I know what you’re thinking, “Man, that Studly is one lucky son of a gun.” And you’d be right. Apparently, I’m a heckuva catch. 

Just this afternoon at Walmart a young man on the pet food aisle chatted me up about my cats and made additional small talk before asking, “So, are you married?” 

I blinked rapidly several times and then in a too loud voice responded, “Yep! Yep! Old and married.”

“Too bad,” he responded and sauntered away. 

He wasn’t my type. The saggy, baggy jeans were a deal breaker. Well, that and the “I look like I just got out of jail” vibe he was putting out. Still, if Studly ever forgets just how lucky he is, I have at least one prospect.

Note: My Walmart beau looked a lot better than any of these guys:


Is this the legendary Camo Fairy?
Barney called. He wants his suit back.
Don’t you wish your boyfriend was hot like me?
Gary had a little lamb.
 Peace, people!

Spending Time with a Three Year Old

After spending one day with a twelve year old grandson and another day with a ten year old granddaughter how hard could it be to hang out for an hour with a three year old? At Walmart? In the toy section?

It was an hour of bargaining and logic.

Me: Harper, I need to go to Walmart to buy cat litter and milk.

Harper: And toys Nana?

Me: Nope; just milk and cat litter (at this point both the older siblings elected to stay home).

Harper: OK, Nana.

In the car:

Harper: Nana, play Uptown Funk

Me: I don’t have Uptown Funk.

Harper: Yes, you do. 

Me: No I don’t, but let’s see if we can find a radio station that’s playing Uptown Funk

(Believe it or not it was playing on one of the first stations I tuned into on Sirius.)

Harper: See, Nana! I told you that you have Uptown Funk.

Me: Yes, you did. (Sigh)

At Walmart:

Harper: Can I get a toy Nana?

Me: You really don’t need a toy sweetie.

Harper: Can I just look at toys.

Me: Let’s put you in the shopping cart and go find the cat litter. 

Harper: If I ride in the cart can I have a toy?

Me: (At this point I know I’m buying the kid a toy, but I’m not ready to concede just yet) Let’s find the things we need and we’ll talk about it.

Harper: (At this point the kid knows she’s getting a toy, but she plays it cool.) Ok, Nana!

We found the cat litter and were on our way to the dairy section when it occurred to me that it might take Harper more than a few minutes to pick out a toy and that it would be better to take care of that before going to buy milk.

When we got to the toy department I helped Harper out of the cart and she headed immediately to toys from the movie, Frozen, and found a package containing a Barbie-sized Elsa and Ana as well as Olaf, the snowman and Sven, the reindeer. Her eyes lit up.

Harper: Can I have this Nana? I won’t ever need any more toys!

Now, how could I resist that? Without complaining she let me put her back in the cart and we picked up milk and a few more goodies. The whole time Harper kept up a running commentary about her new toys. 

Harper: Nana, do you think Sven can talk? I think Sven can talk because he’s a reindeer. Nana, what’s a reindeer? Is Olaf a real snowman? Do you like Elsa or Ana best? Will you play with my toys when we get home? Do you have scissors in your car because we need scissors to open this package. I think Sven can talk. Is he a real reindeer?

Me: Maybe I need some Advil.

Harper: Nana, do you need a band-aid?

Me: Maybe. Will a band-aid make my head stop hurting?

Harper: Yes, Nana. 

In the car:

Harper: Play Uptown Funk.

At the Quad Cities Family Entertainment Center later that day:

Apparently band-aids help with headaches.

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