...But for the duffel, I have to drive to Greensboro, because Winston-Salem's Army-Navy surplus store, which used to be on Old Walkertown close to Carver School Road, is gone. The storefront is empty now, the phone disconnected with no forwarding number.
I feel a bit like I've found out that someone I once knew vaguely died some time ago. I wonder when and why, but to ask would be to pry because the connection is tenuous. In this case, I had shopped there only a few times and a few years back. (One time I got the youngest a purple-camo outback hat. He thought it the most marvelous thing ever, and he still wears it frequently.)
Now the oldest is getting ready to go off to camp. To camp! And filled with memories of my own camp summers - blissful most, exquisitely painful others - I want to send him with an Army duffel, because that's what I used in addition to my trunk. Like my mother did for me, I will pen his surname across the canvas and store it in the attic when not in use. It will come down at the beginning of each summer, bringing with it a faint smell of cabin, of mountain, of creekwater. And he will inhale deeply and smile.
So we'll drive to Greensboro, which still has an Army Surplus store that I called on the telephone to be sure, so I wouldn't drive up and down, up and down, like I did on Old Walkertown the other day, each time staring at the For Rent sign like a gravestone in the window.