I should have just stayed in the car
I started laughing to myself as my husband Jason made his way inside the local hardware store.
I stayed out in the truck while he looked for a truck part. I had the air hitting me my face, and I didn’t mind sitting in the truck. I kind of wanted to honestly. But I began to think about all those times I was told to “stay in the car” when my grandmother went run into the store.
Maw Maw always had to go somewhere.
We would stop at roadside flea markets for her to look at rugs. We rolled into Piggly Wiggly to pick up a few groceries. We paid a visit to the hair salon so she could buy bobby pins. We sometimes even rode to the end of the driveway to check the mail.
We always had to go somewhere. And that meant loading me and my grandfather up for the ride.
Maw Maw didn’t like to go anywhere by herself. But she did like to go into places alone. It allowed her to do things at her pace...and with her checkbook....without any complaints.
Paw Paw and I would sit in the red Ford station wagon and wait on her. We would wait in the sweltering heat and the piercing cold.
Wait, wait and wait with nothing but the air or heat and the radio on.
It usually went pretty well depending on how long Maw Maw stayed in the store.
But we were coming through Brookhaven when Maw Maw decided to stop at the Sack and Save to pick up a loaf of bread.
As soon as we saw the blinker come on in the dashboard, Paw Paw and I both let out a heavy sigh.
“What,” Maw Maw asked, pushing her glasses up on her nose. “I’m just going in to buy some bread. I’m only gonna be a minute.”
Pulling into the parking space, the tall building’s shadow beat down on our car. The Piggly Wiggly in Monticello was pretty small. But the Sack and Save in Brookhaven was like a giant shopping center. The gigantic bag logo they had on the front of the building was ten times of the size of the Saxton Hardware sign in downtown Yazoo.
“Now Jamie, listen to me,” Maw Maw said. “Don’t you leave this car. I’ll be right in and right out. I may even buy you a comic book.”
Maw Maw made her way into the store, and Paw Paw and I began our waiting ritual.
We sang about three songs on the radio. We played two games of “I Spy.” We talked about the people we saw coming in and out of the store. We even practiced holding our breath to see who could hold out the longest.
“Jamie, go in that store and tell her to come on,” Paw Paw said. “Ain’t no sense in it taking this long.”
Paw Paw was paralyzed so the idea of him just running in was out of the question. I knew Maw Maw told me to stay in the car, but Paw Paw was right. She was taking too long.
Getting out of the car, I ran into the store. The inside was unbelievable to an eager child. There were hundreds of rows of food shelves. There was a big diner inside with a bakery and hot lunch. There was even a shelf selling encyclopedias.
How was I ever gonna find Maw Maw in this? I quickly began my search.
I was looking down the meat rows, when I heard my name came across the store speakers.
Now what could this be all about, I thought.
When I got to the front of the store, I saw Maw Maw with her hands on her hips. Her hair was wet from sweat, and her grocery receipt was scrunched up in her hand.
She was mad. Maybe even furious.
Maw Maw had been running around in the parking lot looking for me because she thought I was out there for some reason.
We made our way back to the station wagon and sped off, heading toward Monticello.
“I told you she went into the store,” Paw Paw said, looking at Maw Maw. “There is no reason why she would be in the parking lot.”
“I think you’ve said enough James Jackson,” she replied. “Sending a baby in the store, have you lost your mind?”
Paw Paw started snickering, and I looked in the back hull of the station wagon.
A simple loaf of bread had turned into a dozen eggs, three cans of orange juice, potato salad from the deli, a jug of mustard, a bag of onions, Weight Watchers shakes, two packs of Kool-Aid, a case of Faygo (both in Cola and Redpop), a bag of dog food, a shower cap and a timer shaped like an egg.
Looking through the jungle of paper bags, I was confused.
“Maw Maw, where’s my comic book,” I asked, with my bottom lip poking out.
“Oh no,” Paw Paw laughed. “We ain’t going back for a comic book. We’ve got all the comedy we need right here.”
Maw Maw shot a look at Paw Paw as he continued his smart comments. Flipping on the blinker, Maw Maw flashed a grin back to the old man.
Paw Paw was silent, that turn signal was enough to scare him straight. And all was still.
Looking back in the rear view mirror, Maw Maw just grinned at me. And I couldn’t help but grin back.