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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Shopping for What?
By JoAnne Nanton


Shopping For What?

I am Judi Gleason and I live to tell our story as I remember it…

Our son Ricky was five years old and precocious. When we planned our Saturday shopping trip to Kmart, it was meant to have been a treat for all of us, that is, my husband Richard, our son Ricky and me. An initial search for undergarments, tools and whatever Ricky needed or wanted at that time, resulted in a more extensive shopping experience than we had bargained for.

Upon entering the store, Richard charged off to his favorite department – Tools, leaving Ricky in my custody. The ladies’ undergarment section was to have been my first stop.

“Stay right around here, do you understand? “ I eyeballed Ricky and pointed out the perimeter of his limitations.

“Okay mommy,” he responded.

“I’ll be finished soon, “I told him, while rummaging through the sales rack as if searching for buried treasure but occasionally calling out to Ricky for reassurance.

All of a sudden, unknown to me, Ricky disappeared from his boundaries. His silence spoke volumes.

“Ricky?” I called once, then again and again. “Ricky? Ricky!” I frantically cried out but he was no where in sight.

I thought, “Perhaps he had ventured over to where his father was” so, frightened as I was, I hasted away in a panic search to find both of them but only found Richard.

“Is Ricky with you? He is not with me,” I admitted finally. “I was shopping over there,” pointing the distance of the undergarment rack, “when he disappeared. I thought that he might have been with you.”

Richard, with his eyes bulged and with his jaws dropped, abandoned the shopping basket he was carrying. His breathing was heavy as he scurried aimlessly about, loudly calling out to Ricky, but there was no response.

“I’ve already told that boy not to go outside those doors, so I hope that he did not go into the parking lot, “Richard charged. However, finding some composure, Richard decided, “I’ll go to the customer service counter and tell them what happened. Then, I’ll check the male bathroom, and then I’ll go outside to the parking lot and check to see if he went out by the truck.”

“Okay,” I agreed. “And I’ll check the ladies’ bathrooms and then go back to the area where I was shopping, in case he goes back there,” I told him.

We both took off. I meandered my way in and out of the aisles, searching high and low for our son. I even went over to the front door and tip-toed, hoping to have a bird’s eye view of our fairway green Chevy truck (it’d be hard to miss, I thought). I darted back to the area of the undergarments but still no Ricky. Mixed feelings led to more panic. My stomach felt like flood waters were raging within and my heart pounded out of rhythm. More thoughts, then unwanted images danced in my head: images about Ricky, about my marriage, about the police, about arrests, about jail, about the media, about our families, about our neighbors! It was too much to bear. Yes, I had become quite paranoid.

Then I heard…

“Judi Gleason, please come to the Customer Service Counter, “the page came over the store’s intercom. Then it was repeated twice more.

“God never gives more that we can bear,” I told myself. More impressive though were the words of Philippians 4:6, which I had read umpteen times in my King James Bible. It stated, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Quickened in my spirit, in quietness I repented and relinquished charge of our situation to God.

Daringly I pressed towards the customer service counter where I spied Ricky. With a sigh of relief, an appreciative thank you to God and to the staff, I ushered him away. Ricky confessed that he had ventured into the parking lot. Silence held me hostage for a brief moment as I held him close. I knew, however, that his father would soon join us and have a quite a few choice items to contribute before we left the store…and, of a certainty, he did!

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This article has been read 689 times
Member Comments
Member Date
cindy yarger03/08/07
Ah, the emotions that wandering kids can evoke. "and, of a certainity,he did." Loved that line. Good job.
Virginia Gorg03/10/07
Cute story evoking emotions all parents go through when a child isn't nearby in a store. I almost expected him to be dressed in women's undergarmens, though. Picture that. :)
Marilee Alvey03/10/07
I could identify with this piece. One of my boys actually got lost once in O'Hare airport. Yikes!

It's so easy to forget how very precious something is to us until it threatens to be lost. Thanks for the accurate depiction.
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
How devastating. I really thought he would be found asleep under one of racks of clothing. My loss! Glad he was found safe and sound.
Leigh MacKelvey03/12/07
Loved the descritive feelings in this. I could feel my stomach raging and head poundng in rhythm. This was a delight to read becuase it was wrtitten with choice words and a flow that didn't bog the reader down, Great job!
JoAnne Nanton03/15/07
Thank you for your kind comments. The experience, though devastating at the time, has certainly given me a new perspective and a profound respect for motherhood.