During retirement, Daddy had to get out of the house. He was not good at staying inside or staying still for very long. Each morning, he had to renew himself among pals and coffee shop buddies. He could only afford to go to the race track two or three times a week, so options were limited.
When Mom needed something from the store and the weather was nice, he’d occasionally walk down to the boulevard. Of course, Daddy was only concerned with making sure that he picked up the correct items and brought the correct amount of change back or he’d never hear the end of it. He knew his math, so focused on the list and the total change received. So what was the big deal? In Daddy’s mind, shopping was easy; in fact, there was nothing to it; sort of a slam dunk operation.
Lots of changes had occurred along the boulevard; a second bank, an ATM machine, larger parking lots for the few anchor businesses left (like the Ace Hardware affiliate) and all things coming of age for the small, born-again, thriving shopping district.
The neighborhood had lost the independent grocery store many years before, but still had a major grocery chain within walking distance. On one of these errands for Mom, it occurred to Daddy that he could walk down the candy aisle and find the little Snickers baggies there; yep, there they were. His wife had given him plenty of cash…shouldn’t be noticed in the total…so; he picked up one bag and added it to the basket.
He arrived back at 3671 Rubberneck and, seeing that his wife was preoccupied in the kitchen, sidestepped through the dining room and walked straight to his bedroom pillow. He placed the bag of Snickers carefully behind and out of sight. There. All set. This was one bag of candy that she wouldn’t hide from him. Then, he entered the kitchen and placed the grocery bag on the end of the counter with the receipt and change for Mom. No problem.
A few minutes later, Daddy was again playing Solitaire at the card table. He’d already checked his stocks, so was playing cards and listening to the talk radio program when Mom left the kitchen and entered the front room:
So, Honey, where is the candy?
What candy? I didn’t buy any candy.
You’d didn’t, huh?
You didn’t have that written down.
No, I didn’t. But the receipt says candy, $1.79 on it….
What do you mean? Where? Let me see…
Right here. CANDY. See that?
A few moments quiet as Daddy adjusted his glasses and reviewed the grocery receipt… To his chagrin, he hadn’t noticed the recently introduced line item tabulations that classified each purchase in easy to read print.
And you thought you were being clever, didn’t you?
I witnessed this little exchange and understood exactly how he felt when Mom got the best of us. Daddy turned to me for support and sympathy.
I can’t win. I thought for sure I’d gotten the better of her this time, but that mother of yours finds everything…