This Memorial Day weekend Bob and I had a couple of days off; a rarity in our business. Bob stayed home to take care of his “honey-do” list, and I headed south to a State which shall remain nameless(as we all know, friends don’t let friends drive to Illinois).
After taking Mom to her doctor early this morning, she had the bright idea to go to Home Depot.
“Great,” I said, “We can pick out a tomato plant for you.”
Mom mumbled something I didn’t catch, and if I have learned anything in the 50 plus years I’ve known her, I really should have been very afraid.
Well, I pulled into Home Depot in Gurnee, and made the observation that the parking lot looked a lot like it does on Black Friday.
Mom smiled. “It’ll be fine, Look, there’s an opening on the other side of the store. We’ll park over there and walk.”
“Over there” happened to be about a quarter-mile away, but so what? It was early, and Home Depot had an entire section of parking lot blocked off with plants and mulch. I got Mom in the wheelchair and we headed out. I realized later I should have taken a backpack and a bottle of water with me, because between dodging traffic and garden center flatbeds, we were lucky to make it to the store with our lives…and during store hours!
I was thinking about a cart, but when we went through the doors there were only five carts to be had.
“We don’t really need a cart, do we Mom? After all, we’re just grabbing one silly little tomato, right?”
So bent was I on weaving through the throng of people, I did not notice her set jaw and furrowed brow-definite signs Mom had other ideas. It would have at least given me a heads up that I was headed for trouble. We snagged a cart on the way in, but I figured Mom was just being prepared.
We made it to the garden center relatively unscathed, but came to a stand-still right at the entrance. A wall of people stood between Mom and her tomato, and we were not moving. From that point, I was just following in her wake. I apologized to the lady with the scraped Achilles tendon, and jumped out of the way of the guy who bounced off the left wheel of the wheelchair, and I suddenly found myself in the tomato aisle, looking for the perfect Roma. The aisle only had three people in it and I knew it would be smooth sailing from then on.
Uh, except there was a little mishap with a particularly rude gentleman. At one point, I turned to Mom to ask how she liked a particular plant, only to find her burried in the armpit of a guy who leaned so far over the arm of her chair, he fell right into the Sweet 100′s. I started down the aisle only to watch him go behind the wheelchair and knee the back, which sent Mom rolling toward me.
As she was holding a plant in each hand, she couldn’t get to the wheels, and the rude guy lost interest in the plants he wanted so badly, and walked the other way! A Good Samaratin snagged Mom before she clipped anyone or took out the heirlooms, and a great employee named Danny showed up and saved the day.
Danny blazed a trail down the center aisle, and under Mom’s direction, pulled a flatbed out from under a table. I trailed behind, carrying my lone Roma, while Danny and Mom filled the flatbed with potting soil, peat, three more tomatoes, a cuke, fertilizer, three peppers, two large containers, and a bag of dahlias.
Danny was such a good guy, he even helped load everything into my car! The not so great part was unloading it all when we got back to Moms, but I persevered. We potted it all up, ran other errands and ten hours after I started my day, I was on my way home. About half way home, I had a great feeling of accomplishment wash over me…..that is, until I got to 173 and Deep Lake Road
It seema a very large snapping turtle decided the swamp was sweeter on the other side of the road, and was slowly making his way across the north bound lane of traffic. I swerved around him and nervously waited at the stop light, hoping the guy behind me missed the snapper as well.
I got through the light, made a U-turn in the Wal-Mart parking lot and sped back through the light, pulling off the road. I scrounged around in the back of my car, and realized I had nothing to herd Mr. Snapper back to his own swamp. I grabbed the only thing close to a shield, and blessed Danny from Home Depot once again, because I had the cardboard box from the all Mom’s plants in the back. I grabbed it and headed for the snapper, who was in a stand off with a young man in a “95 Will Rock” van.
The turtle must have known I was the enemy, because he spun around, hissed open-mouthed, and attacked my plant box with a vengeance. He did not want to go home, but I was determined he was not going to be turtle soup this afternoon.
Well, he went, but he was not happy.
I finally got home and what do I find? A crumpled honey-do list and no Bob…..seems Bob took the “day off” thing seriously. He took a looong nap, then went down to the local gun shop to jackpot with the owner and a couple other guys. Right now it’s after midnight and I’m still writing. And Bob? He was tired and went to bed about an hour ago. Poor guy, he had a full day!