There’ll be no sporkings, tag, or POWs – someday

Categorized as 02/28/11 Goshen News column

With errands to run and a college kid to visit, we gathered the remnants of our donut feast, topped off the coffee, and moved on.  The next stop?  Target, one of Mr. Schrock’s favorite places in the world to shop.  From experience, I know that this will not be a surgical strike, in-and-out experience.  After all those donuts and a second round of coffee, I’m too mellow to fuss, so I follow the lively horde through the doors.  Just as Boys Two and Three peel off, heading for electronics, I intervene.  To Boy Two’s great disgust, I haul him to men’s clothing, plucking jeans off the shelves before installing him in a fitting room.  In their world, trying on pants is right up there with forced marches through steaming jungles in a prison camp.  They’re the POWs, and I’m the wicked warden with a rubber truncheon.  As I wait outside his “cell,” I notice another woman waiting close by. 

I recognize her.  They’d been sitting at the table behind us, eating donuts.  And so I say it, smiling, “I think I just saw you at Krispy Kreme.” “Oh, you’re the one with all the boys,” she says, smiling back.  “Yes, three-fourths of them,” I say.  “There’s one more where those came from.”  I’m pretty sure I can see her shooting up an arrow prayer along the lines of, “Thank You, Lord, that it’s her…” When I hear that she has two daughters and that her mission involves finding a swimsuit and a recital dress for a picky little consumer, I send up my own arrow prayer.  “Thank You, Lord, that it’s her…” Finished now and waiting with the minors for Mr. Schrock to appear, a chase breaks out.  In, around, and through the racks they fly, Little giggling hysterically.  I shoot an SOS to their father.  “Kids playing tag.  Help!”  Looking around for my truncheon, I note that I’ve left it over by the jeans.  Rats.  The next stop is the grocery store, which is where we finally get to that “sporking” incident.  They’re giving out samples today; in this case, beef stir fry served in paper cups with an odd utensil that’s a cross between a spoon and a fork (a spork).  This, we find, is quite handy for eating beef stir fry.  The unrest begins when B2 discovers that it’s also quite handy for goosing a sibling, speeding his progress through the aisles.  Goose, hop.  Goose, hop.  It’s abundantly clear that we’ve had a security failure and that this one can’t be trusted with a pencil eraser.  Periodic frisking will now become standard.  Before we head home, we stop off to see College Kid at work.  I kiss his cheek and hug his neck.  We hand him three carefully-wrapped donuts and a bottle of chocolate milk.  He grins, happy, and hugs his father and all three brothers as we say goodbye.   I feel a wave of happiness at the open affection and the sight of all those dark heads together.  Someday, our shopping trips will be quiet.  There will be no games of tag in the racks or sulky POWs in the fitting rooms.  There’ll be no sporking stories, either.  Unless, of course, Mr. Schrock starts in, and then I’ll have no choice. 

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