Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bless your heart...

The South does have some defining characteristics, which includes a number of phrases.  My favorite is "Bless your heart."  Not "cotton-pickin' heart," just "heart."  For any Northern-ahs who might be reading this, I'll explain.  "Bless your heart" is the Southern way of indicating that someone is...ah...less that capable or...hmm...intelligent, shall we say?  It's about the nicest way of making someone feel two inches tall in a situation if used correctly and with the right Southern-belle accent.

It's Father's Day, we've finished breakfast, and it's time to shop for my DH's Father's day gift.  We regret to announce the demise of our Foreman grill after almost 10 years of faithful service.  Funeral services and announcements to follow.  So hey, let's go to Walmart to see if we can get another one!  It's Sunday.  It's Father's Day.  Oh sure, how could this be a bad idea?  In we go.  We get two baskets because the while the good people of Walmart may sell multiple items, they are unaware that people might HAVE multiple children!  We check the Foreman grill section, but alas...the one we want is ONLY sold online.  Of course, this is Walmart, and who can't use four or five...or nine...items from Walmart, even if they don't carry the actual item you needed in the first place.  I love when they ask, "Did you find everything alright?"  Seriously?  They should ask, "Did you find the one thing that brought you in in the first place, or is this just all consolation shopping?"

I go to get in line, and, of course, there are four registers open with lines at least six people deep.  The girls are having fits because they want to run and play, so my DH and I agree that he'll take the girls out to the van and I'll buy the items.  Ah yes...parenting...when standing in a ridiculously long line at Walmart all by yourself becomes a mini-vacation...

As I'm standing in line I become aware of a younger couple behind me arguing in hissed tones.  She's blond with short hair, trendy clothes, and flip flops.  He's blond with a polo, golfing shorts, and boating shoes.  He's pushing the stroller with the blond 18 month old boy who frankly couldn't care less.  She's got the cart groaning with items.  He stomps off and she stands there, debating her next move.  Clearly she's not pleased with this turn of events, especially because we all DARE to be in long lines that prevent her from being where ever she's supposed to be right now!  I hate to see people argue on holidays, but that's how life goes.  Not to mention there are some REALLY good headlines on the tabloids...really?  An alien?  Married for how long?...

She gets in line behind me, and a moment later, taps me on the shoulder.  I turn around, and she gives me her brightest smile.  It must be a very bright smile - it requires her sunglasses stay on her face to protect her vision from the glare.  "Hi," she says, "I was wondering if I could go ahead of you?  It's Father's Day, and my husband is really upset that we're ruining his plans.  It would mean so much to us if you'd just let me jump in front of you there." 

Glancing over her incredibly full buggy...and my paltry nine items, I reply, "I understand how frustrating these lines can be!  My husband took our three children out to the car to jump-start the getting out process.  To be very honest, given that I have so few items and you have so many, I'm going to have to say no.  But I'll be very quick - this cashier is moving very well." 

In shock, she stares at me, raising her sunglasses to look me fully in the eye.  Then the super-sunny smile (which causes another lowering of the sunglasses), "I know it's asking a lot, but like I said, it's Father's Day, and I just hate to cause him any stress on his special day.  Father's really deserve special consideration on a day like today..."

OK, I'm sorry, let's try this again, lady.  "Yes, they do.  I'm so blessed to have such a special man in my life who is a wonderful father to our THREE children.  I'm sorry, but I'm just going to have to say no." 

Stumped at my willful determination NOT to recognize the very special situation that she, alone, is in, she raises her sunglasses to give me a wilting stare.  Unfortunately, she's got a LOT of work to do on that stare...especially when employing it on a former high school teacher turned stay-at-home-mom.  Never been a victim of my stare?  Don't look too closely at the blog...I'm demonstrating it now.  Uh-huh...see?  Powerful.  I return to my perusal of the tabloids...Nostradamus contacted HIM?  Oh, there was a miscalculation...they really meant the world would end in 2022...unless they messed up again...

Fortunately, she's resourceful.  Turning to the gentleman in the line next to us, she lowers her sunglasses, bathes him in the radiance of that self-proclaimed brilliant smile, and says, "Excuse me, sir, but I'm not sure if you heard my predicament."  Of course he did!  Aren't you E.F. Hutton's daughter?  "It's Father's Day, and my husband just really wants to get on to his celebration.  Do you think I could hop in front of you there in line and speed up checking out?" 

The guy looks at her, shrugs, and says, "What?  You think HE'S the only father stuck in Walmart on Father's Day?  It's life.  At least it ain't the E.R."  Second degree burns!  My wife smiled at me for too long and I couldn't find the sunblock!!

Astonished at our total inability to comprehend the magnitude of her situation, the lady pulls off her sunglasses and cries, "What the hell?  Where's this Southern Hospitality I've heard so much about?!?"

Smiling, I turn back to her and exclaim, "Bless your heart!  Haven't you heard?  You're in the New South!"

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