She puts the groceries in plastic bags, pulling each bag from the wire contraption where they hang in big bundles. After filling a bag, Mom neatly closes it with half a knot and then places the bag in the cart. Then she reaches for another bag . . .
Mom uses these bags at home for garbage, one a meal, so she likes to have as many bags on hand as possible.
I pay and then help bagging the groceries, not stuffing the bags so we will have a few more to use at home. The plastic bags come in bundles of maybe 100, perhaps five or six bundles hanging on the rack dispenser, awaiting my amateur efforts at bagging. I do a pretty good job--maybe something I should consider for a second career.
As I turn the cart to the door, I wait for Mom to grab the handle for the steadiness and guidance she needs in her 88 years. We are pushing side by side when in a sudden snatch and run, Mom grabs a bundle of bags, folds them into the shopping cart, and sets off in a gallop for the door. It's a bag heist, and I'm the driver! I sprint with mom so I won't be left holding the bag.
Mom's white-knuckling the cart, and as I push I swear I hear the TV theme song from Hawaiian Five-0 and Jack Lord's voice, "Book 'em, Danno."
And then the huge sliding glass doors loom like some horizontal, transparent guillotine. I'm the Sundance Kid, afraid to jump, and Mom is Butch Cassidy at his sardonic best. Instead of, "Hell, the fall will probably kill us," my mother laughs, "Those sliding doors almost didn't open we were moving so fast!"
Oh, sweet sunshine, we are out the door. Glancing over my shoulder, I see no blue-shirted employees wolf-packing after us through the parking lot. I guess the one third of a cent price for a bag isn't worth busting an 88-year-old great-grandmother. I won't be busted as an accessory to my mother's crime. I won't have to visit Mom in the big slammer.
I tell myself she didn't know what she was doing because she's blind. Yeah, that's right! That's it! That's the thing to tell the judge. I'm even believing it.
After all, she's my mom.
Copyright 2013 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved