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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)

TITLE: Let Him Buy Icecream
By Laura Hawbaker


I was wheeling my grocery cart down the last aisle in the store, my shopping almost complete when I heard a woman shout, “Quit looking! I have already signed the check!”

Glancing around, I expected to see an errant child, and I nearly laughed out loud when I realized who the recipient of her harangue was. Not a child hanging around the candy bars, but a husband lingering in front of the ice cream freezer, longingly perusing the selections.

Ah, yes, shopping with husband. I can understand her frustration, but I felt sorry for the man as he meekly walked away from the Raspberry Ripple and the Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Temptation.

I usually shop solo, but occasionally my husband accompanies me. I have discovered my husband and I have very different grocery shopping personalities. And, oddly enough, we become each other in the grocery store. Typically, I am the disorganized, come-what-may type of person and my husband is the orderly, let’s-get-this-job-done kind of guy. In the grocery store I become the nerd, he the free spirit.

I stride through the store, computer-printed list in hand, checking off the necessary items: flour, sugar, milk, bread, chicken… Very sensible, very efficient. Very boring.

When my husband offers to take me shopping, I know the experience will neither be sensible nor cheap, but it will be fun!

My husband checks his fiscal conservativeness at the door and as soon as enters the store, he gets a dreamy look in his eye. He sees items I didn’t even know the store carried. He gallantly offers to push the cart and while I dart around with the list, he strolls through the aisles.

That end cap display that I usually zoom right past catches his attention and he lingers. The bright faced, smiling little girl on the boxes of attractively arranged snacks cheerily grins at my husband. “How is our Nutty Bar supply?” he asks.

“Our Nutty Bar supply?”

He doesn’t beg exactly, but they do come with a dollar off coupon, so into the cart they go. It has been a while since I bought any Nutty Bars so the supply actually is quite low.

At the meat counter I am a bit more understanding. His expertise at the grill gives him the upper hand in this department. Remembering the smoky, delicious taste of his perfectly grilled beef, I ignore the price tag on the well marbled steak he is purchasing. “After all,” he explains, “This is a lot cheaper than eating out.” Add that to the fact that he is doing the cooking and I cannot argue.

Strategically located near the meats, he sees a wide array of sauces, rubs and marinades. “Oooo, this looks good.” He is caressing a big bottle of sweet and spicy chipotle barbeque sauce. Sure, why not. It goes into the cart next to my store brand ketchup.

Before long wild rice and pumpernickel rye bread to eat with the steak, sparkling grape juice and a toffee chocolate bar for an after-the-kids-are-in-bed treat share the cart with my sensible groceries. A slice of jerky to stave off starvation on the trip home and a cherry coke to quench the thirst created by the salty leather, and we are ready to check out. Of course, the final tab is a several dollars more than my usual fare, but we not only have a cart full of essentials we also have the makings of a delectable meal. We have not only conquered the grocery list, we have experienced the store. My husband has taught me that the fun, the magic of meal preparation begins with shopping.

I nearly laughed when I heard the woman yelling at her husband to stop looking, but I should have told her to relax and enjoy the moment. Let him buy Haagen-Dazs once in a while. Serve it in pretty glass bowls, eat it on the porch swing after dark and call it a date!

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This article has been read 439 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lois Farrow08/23/12
This is fun, and I like the ending. We can be far too serious too much of the time.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/23/12
This is a sweet story and you had me chuckling throughout it. It's funny how something as simple as shopping can change our personalities! The message at the end, don't sweat the smell stuff or take time to smell the roses is something I think we all need once in a while. Great read!
Brenda Shipman 08/23/12
This is so well written. Perfect pacing, punctuation, grammar, great intro and conclusion, and terrific title! But it's the characters that make the story come alive. Loved how you depicted their personalities switching in the store. And of course, your message is packaged so well, I will definitely be letting my husband throw ice cream into the cart next time we shop together. Yay for a great story!
C D Swanson 08/24/12
Fun, delightful and a truthful read. Almost all of us can identify with this story. You obviously hit the topic quite well, and managed to tell a good story in the process.

Thanks...God Bless~
Karen Pourbabaee 08/24/12
Light hearted, fun, great characters all tied up with a good message...we should have more fun at the grocery store:)
Vicki J. Cypcar08/28/12
Love your descriptions, especially the 'salty leather.' I enjoyed the light-hearted flow of it all. Great job.
Wilma Schlegel08/30/12
Sweet!! I totally identify with this one! Congratulations on your placements!
Brenda Shipman 08/30/12
Congrats on your win, Laura! I just knew this great story would place well. Keep writing!
C D Swanson 08/31/12
Congrats...God bless