Now, I’m a man. So, one of the worst things I can imagine is gettin’ stuck in line at a grocery store. Which is why I try to get out of goin’ to the grocery store every chance I get. Or, if Minnie somehow tricks me into goin’ along with her, I make sure I try to pile the cart with everything I like – chocolate milk and kielbasa and three or four different kinds of chips – until she gets tired of puttin’ stuff back and tells me to go look at the hockey magazines until she’s done.
Anyways, every once in a while Minnie will be cookin’ a big supper and realize she ran out of somethin’ and send me out to the store to pick it up. And that’s what happened last week. She already had a turkey in the freezer, but she found a big ham on sale just before Easter so she cooked the ham instead of the turkey for Easter, and then Saturday she decided to cook the turkey.
A big turkey supper is one of my favourite meals ever, so I was right on board with this idea. I usually eat about three plates of turkey and potatoes and stuffing and everything else and then fall asleep in front of the TV, get up the next morning and have a few hunks of cold turkey with my tea for breakfast, hot turkey sandwiches for dinner, and that usually takes care of all the turkey.
So she got all the pots boilin’ on the stove, and you could smell the bird in the oven all through the house, and she got the Stove Top mixed up in the microwave, and she’s bent over in the fridge cursin’ to herself.
Billy, run to the store and get us a stick of butter, eh? she says. We don’t got no butter.
You got ‘er, I says, with none of my usual complainin’, because my mouth is waterin’ and I can pretty much already taste that crispy brown turkey skin.
And DON’T you go to the corner store, she said. Go to the grocery store. It’s on sale this week in the flyers.
Well cripes. I don’t know why I listened to her, but I drove right past the corner store and went all the way to the grocery store.
So I get my sticka butter and get to the front of the store. There’s three checkouts open and there’s – no word of a lie – about 1,000 people lined up at each one. The lines stretch all the way back all windy and crooked and they’re not movin’ at all. The people at the front have been in line so long Pepsi changed their logo twice.
Well this can’t get any worse, I says to myself. And that’s when the woman in front of me started yellin’ and wavin’ like crazy to another woman she knew who was in line three checkouts away.
Martha! she yelled. I never seen you in a month of Sundays!
Donelda! the other woman yelled back, from about 30 feet away with about 20 people between them. When did you get out of the hospital? I heard you were gettin’ your tubes cut and tied!
Got out last week! Donelda yelled back. I figured I had to get it done, the way George is always chasin’ me around!
Now, I’m not a fella to make fun of the way somebody looks, but if you’re gonna be yellin’ stuff like that in a grocery store, it’s fair game. The poor woman wasn’t even five feet tall, and almost as round, wearin’ kind of a moo-moo with green and blue flowers that looked like an old table cloth. I couldn’t imagine anybody chasin’ her around, but it was no wonder she was easy to catch.
And how’s the little fella? Donelda yelled back.
Whuh? Martha said, and Donelda repeated herself even louder. By this point, other people in line were lookin’ at each other and raisin’ their eyebrows and mumblin’.
Oh, Malcom? He’s good! Martha said. He had an accident on his bike there last week, landed right on his crotch on the crossbar and drove his parts right back up inside his belly. All the kids were makin’ fun of him, but the doctor did some kind of adjustment and the next day everything popped back down in place, so he’s good.
Poor Malcom, I thought to myself.
Well that’s good. Did I tell ya about my planter’s warts? Donelda yelled back.
No! Martha yelled.
They’re givin’ me an awful time! Donelda yelled. Then she leaned on her cart, stepped one foot out of her Croc and peeled her sock off. Look at that! Can ya see it!
Looks painful! Martha yelled, and an old lady in the line between them said Jesus, Mary and Joseph!, rolled her cart to the side and pretty much ran away.
Yeah, they’re bad! Donelda said, pushin’ the giant lumps with her finger.
I heard somewhere Miracle Whip is good for them, Martha yelled back. Ya just smear some right on and it’ll heal up in no time!
G’way! Donelda yelled back.
And ya know somethin’? I’m gonna stop the story right there. Because I don’t know when yis are readin’ this – ya might be tryin’ to eat a bowl of Corn Flakes or somethin’ and the last thing I want to do is turn your stomach by tellin’ ya the woman fished a bottle of Miracle Whip out of her cart, smeared some on her foot then put the cap back on the bottle and went through the checkout with one bare foot. I wouldn’t do that to ya.
Here ya go, I said to Minnie when I finally got home and handed her the butter. I’m not too hungry, though. Can you just do up a plate for me and I’ll eat it next Wednesday?