Leaving a funeral at Mt. Tabor yesterday, I reminded the oldest that we still had to do the grocery shopping. He immediately asked if we could go to Harris Teeter rather than Food Lion.
It will be faster, Mom.
No, no it won't.
Of course it will. It's right here. Please, Mom.
I sighed, then acquiesced.
An hour later, he realized that it was not faster, that it was in fact markedly slower, that Sunday afternoon shopping at Harris Teeter is a social experience loosely framed around an activity, much like attendance at the Kiwanis Pancake Jamboree.
And he considered grousing but then decided to make the most of the fact that friends and strangers alike were tickled by his somber attire. When an acquaintance told him he looked like he stepped out of a magazine, he immediately began searching out empty aisles, then striking poses while holding terrible products. An older gentleman's request that my too-tall-too-soon son reach a package of crackers on the top shelf became the opening for the Cracker Butler, a new persona, and the oldest bowed his head ever so slightly as he passed the crackers.
Ninety minutes in found me chit-chatting away with my dearest neighbor, and the oldest began amusing himself by sneaking insane items into the cart which went undiscovered until the checkout, where he laughingly pointed out the carted oddities.
And then, finally, we were done.
Put back the cart, please.
Two hours, Mom. Two hours.
I know. I'm sorry.
It's OK. I had fun.
And in one last burst of childhood, he pushed off and rode the cart to the outside corral, where he joyfully crashed it into place.