Making my list of holiday needs (groceries, personal care items, cleaning supplies), and realize, to my horror, that it’s going to require a trip to the local Walmart. In December. Historically, I try to avoid Walmart between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Hot, crowded, filled with glassy-eyed moms and their over-sugared offspring screaming “Mommy, mommy, mommmeee!!” until they get the toy they’re frantically pointing a sticky finger at or collapse in a loud, sobbing heap in the middle of the aisle where you need to be (“Um, excuse me. Mind if I step over your kid? I need some shampoo”), all jockeying for position in aisles so heaped with holiday body wash gift sets and musical door wreaths that only one cart can be navigated at a time. Like two cars meeting on a narrow mountain road, one of you is going to have to back up. Cart Stand-Off is an annual holiday sport at Wally World, and some of these mothers spend all year working on their glare.
But since I have to go, Kenny offers to drive me down and help with loading the packages if he can wait in the truck. Sensing that’s as good a deal as I’m going to get, I quickly agree. The parking lot was predictably jammed, so he let me out at the door, promising to park close by so I could easily spot him when I came out.
45 minutes later, cart heaped with half a dozen plastic bags, I wheel it out, spying a white truck that looks exactly like Kenny’s, so I open the door, toss in the bags and hop in with a triumphant smile, at which point the wizened old Hispanic man in the driver’s seat bursts out laughing and exclaims, “Well, Merry Christmas!” then looks up and cries, “THANK YOU, JESUS!” Red-faced, I scrambled out as quickly as I could, grabbing my bags as he waved goodbye with a broad smile.
But to the old guy with the quick and delightful wit, if you’re ever reading this, thanks for the chuckle! And Merry Christmas to you too!