Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Switch

     My parents are amazing; I'd just like to say that right now.  They are a very defined, specific sort of people.  I'm not saying they're average by any means, it's just easy to see who they are.  
    Sometimes people have attributes that give you a clue about them.  For example, maybe a girl named Gretchen likes hopscotch.  Some people like hopscotch, but it doesn't necessarily describe them, but for Gretchen, maybe it does.  Gretchen might wear hopscotch jerseys to bed.  All she talks about is hopscotch.  She dreams about it; she lives to play it. Gretchen HAS PIGTAILS and could be the spokeswoman for hopscotch!
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(This isn't Gretchen.  This is a picture of my dad and gorgeous mom.)
    Maybe my parents are a bit like that, well not with hopscotch, but with other things.  For example, my mom loves the Bible.  She's always talking about Jesus and scriptures.  She's classy, soft-spoken and kind.  Just by writing those things, I bet you have a clear picture of her.  Except that she can play the drums better than Animal on the Muppet's--that's another story.
    Anyway, my dad on the other hand is a character.  He owns a Harley.  He likes strong beer.  He tells wild jokes like I do.
    Here's another picture of him: 
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    With all that in mind, I'd like you to envision me as a dorky junior high student.  I'd gone to the store with my mom and dad.  As we walked in, my mom waved sweetly to everyone.  (She used to be a beauty queen and she has "the wave" down.)  As we walked into the store, my dad tripped over the rug just inside and fell on the tiled ground.
    "Oh, God," my mother whispered, reverently.  
    Everyone in the produce section looked over at us.   I swear people who buy vegetables must care about their weight AND other people's health too.  The people in the deli section next door, didn't even give us the time of day!  I never want to shop in the deli section because of that!
    "Are you okay, Sir?" a carrot-stacker asked my father.
    My dad jumped up, faster than Pooh's friend Tigger.  "I'm fine.  Boy, people are falling just to get into this place."
    Everyone in the produce area laughed and went back to their business.  
    While we shopped, I thought about my hilarious dad.  He always has these one-liners that come out at the right time.  For example, once my sister drove through a sporting goods store--drove THROUGH.  She knocked the ski rack off the wall and everything.  She was really young, terrified to call my dad, but when she told him, he didn't even get mad.  He just said, "Well, didn't you tell them that you thought it was a drive-thru?" 
    During our trip at the store, my dad piled things into the cart.  We got steak, ice cream, popcorn and beer.  
   I grew up in Utah.  The area we lived in was full of very religious  Mormons.  Later, I even got stood-up to a dance when my date found out I wasn't Mormon.
    Anyway, as a few old ladies walked past the shopping cart, they saw the beer and threw their noses in the air as if it was required in their profession.  One old snoot in particular sauntered past in rumpled nylons and high heels.  She sneered at us, while pushing her cart as if she owned the whole damn store.
    I watched as my mom eyed the woman and then the beer.  My mom hated the stuff. So, after a moment, she threw some healthy things in--covering the beer with cheese, tortillas and peanut butter.  

    That's when justice was served.  My dad says it was an accident, swears it was, but part of me thinks he did it on purpose.  We went very close to the snooty woman in rumpled nylons.  She'd turned her back on us "beer buyers," while she looked at the eggs.  When her back was still turned, somehow my dad ended up taking her cart and leaving ours with her.  He must have noticed the same things lined the top of both carts!
    We walked away, and I barely contained my joy.  The snooty woman had taken the bait.  She looked at the cart, blinked a couple times, shook her head and then strolled away with it--that beer-loving prude!
    I peered into the cart my father pushed to the checkout; the resemblance was striking.  That woman liked buying the same healthy things my mom liked.
    As the cashier rang up our items, I watched the prissy old woman sashaying closer.  She rebuked me with her eyes, went to the checkout next to us and smiled greedily as if she'd go to Heaven and we would not.
    After a moment of further prejudice, she slid her cart so the cashier could ring up her items.
    Now, on our end of the checkout conundrum, our cart was filled with some very funny things like denture glue, wart remover and hemorrhoid cream.
    My mom looked at the cream and then my dad.  She shook her head and turned to the mint gum (my mom is way above "Big Red").
    It was about that time, when a scream echoed through the store.  "I did not want steak!" the old woman on checkout five shrieked.  "I'm a vegetarian." 
    I turned a bit shocked because I thought she'd hate the nice produce section.
    "And I DID NOT get ice cream!  I'm lactose intolerant.  My bowels could never handle that!"
    "Well, Ma'am, we can put it back for you."  The cashier paused.  His breath came slowly in that moment.  "Oh my . . . Miss Montgomery.  You've gotten a lot more than steak and ice cream . . . I never knew.  I'd never peg you for a . . . beer drinker.  You sure got a lot of it too, you must really like the stuff."
    The woman gasped.  "Beer!  Beer in my cart!  I'd never touch the stuff."
    I knew the cashier was having the best time ever.  I tried holding a laugh in, but it was too hard.  I suddenly burst like a hyena.
    My mom, that sweet religious woman looked at me, "Does she have our cart?"
    I nodded.
    "Of all the crazy . . . hilarious things!"  My mom laughed too.  Tears came to her eyes as she put her hand over her mouth and tried hunching so the woman wouldn't see her.
    We ended up switching carts with the woman.  I was so happy she got a dose of her own judgmental medicine.
    "I've never been thankful for beer," my mom said as we walked from the store.  "Today, I almost am." 
    My dad chuckled.  "Now she knows what drives people to drink.  Too bad she didn't buy our groceries, that woman could use a Budweiser!"