If you're friends with me on Facebook or you follow me on Instagram this is a really old story because, you know, it happened yesterday. Yesterday is so last year when it comes to social media. But for those of you who don't look at the pictures I post of what I ate for dinner, this might be news to you. Unless you were one of the ones staring at me with awe and wonder and criminal suspicions in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I know. I know. It looked like I had stolen a cart and was returning to the scene of the crime.
But that is NOT what happened.
The boys and I headed to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things because doesn't everyone need tortillas, turkey bacon and apples on occasion? I turned off of the road I live on and onto another street very near my house. There, in the center of the lane, was a Wal-Mart shopping cart. I had to make my van go quite out of its normal path to avoid hitting it. "What in the world?" I muttered.
"A cart!" Garrett yelled. "We have to get it and take it back!"
Something--I know not what--made me stop the car in the middle of the road. I climbed out. Very quickly I realized that the cart would not fit in my little trunk, it was cumbersome, AND if I took it to Wal-Mart people might think I had stolen it in the first place. I said as much to my eight-year-old.
"If we don't take it back, who will?" he asked me. Who, indeed?
Just then my mailman pulled up alongside me. Because, seriously? "Do you need some help there?" he questioned.
"Oh...I...we're...well...I'm trying to get this cart into the back of my van because someone left it here and I'm on my way to Wal-Mart. But, I think I'll have to lay my seats down if I'm going to do that." He stopped his car in the middle of the street and climbed out. I laid my seats down. Because of course I did.
Then, as the mailman and I hoisted the cart into the back of my van, my thumb got smashed. The mailman was a little bit excited about aiding me in my bizarre cart shenanigans and my thumb got caught in the merriment. But, as he was helping me, I did not want him to know that my poor digit had been injured and so I suffered in silence. "Thanks!" I exclaimed, perhaps a little too peppy. He went his way and we continued on to the store.
I pulled into a parking space, got out, and snapped the picture. I was very aware of the people who walked by with bewildered looks on their faces so I said, much too loudly, "Come on, boys! Let's return THIS CART WE FOUND ON THE STREET WHERE IT CERTAINLY DID NOT BELONG TO ITS HOME HERE AT WAL-MART!" And it was very much like I was protesting too much. So, while my words said that I was returning a stolen cart that previously had nothing to do with me, it sounded more like, "HEY BOYS, LET'S PRETEND THAT WE DON'T ALWAYS HAUL THIS CART TO AND FRO BECAUSE IT'S OUR FAVORITE AND WE DON'T WANT ANYONE ELSE TO USE IT!" Then I proceeded to yank the awkward (and surprisingly heavy) cart out of my van.
Just then Matthew hollered, "Oh no! I forgot to wear shoes!"
As beads of sweat formed on my forehead, more because of the fact that people thought I was a cart thief and less because the cart was heavy and my wounded thumb was smarting under its weight, I replied, "Wait. Are you serious?"
"Yeeeesssss," he sort of howled from the van. "Now I'm like a brown hobbit." A lady was walking behind my van right at that precise moment. She laughed audibly and I have no idea if it was because I had a cart suspended halfway between my van and the parking lot or because my five-year-old is straight up hysterical. Because, seriously. We all know that hobbits don't wear shoes but the fact that he threw the color adjective in there was comedic genius. Also, though, it wasn't really clear if I was putting the cart in or taking it out so maybe she was laughing out of dumbfounded curiosity.
So I lifted my boy from the van and plopped him down in the cart because no way is my child walking around a Wal-Mart without shoes on. Heaven only knows what kind of diseases he might pick up along the way.
And then, I once again declared that we are a reality show waiting for a network to happen. This kind of stuff just comes to us. Cart in the middle of the road? No problem. We need a good working title for our show though. Any suggestions?