Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BOYCOTT (11/01/18)
By Leola Ogle
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Now I sit here at the kitchen wondering how I ended up on the news this morning. Brad is going to be mortified. He’s our church’s worship leader and cautions me and the girls that we’re called to a higher standard. In simple words, behave.
I could blame my mother. It began innocently enough. The girls are going on the church’s teen group camping trip the week after school ends – part of their wilderness badges or something.
My girls inherited an intense dislike for bugs from me. We scream and caterwaul like you can’t believe if a bug crosses our paths, especially spiders. When my daughters expressed fear about sleeping in tents in sleeping bags on the ground because, heaven forbid, bugs might crawl on them, I agreed to get them cots.
With time running short, I enlisted Mother’s help. “Two cots,” I told her, “but avoid all the Maxi-mart stores. They’re boycotting out front.”
“I love Maxi-marts,” mother said. “What’s wrong about boycotts?”
“Momma, just don’t go there. I’ve heard there’s been some violence.”
Exaggerated sigh. “Well, okay, but you know there’s a Maxi-mart close to home. But whatever you say.”
“Two, Momma. I need two cots the girls will like. I’ll pay you back, so keep the receipt.” I love Momma, but she can be a bit ditzy. I often find myself repeating instructions to her like she’s Bethany or Bridget. Dad’s a jewel. He’s the senior pastor at our church. A “love-God, pray-for-everyone” kind of man. He and Momma balance each other.
I ran to the store and did the shopping for the office party. I’d just returned home when Momma arrived. I helped her carry in two boxes – Momma’s not the strongest person in the world. I was pleased she’d done the shopping early rather than later. Maybe the girls could do a practice sleep on the cots in the living room.
I opened one box and gasped. “Momma, what’s this?” I knew my mouth was hanging open. The box contained a hot pink chaise lounge with kittens on it – the kind you laid out in the sun or next to the pool. Adorable, but made for little girls, not teen girls. And definitely not for camping.
Momma pushed hair off her forehead and frowned. “What do you mean ‘what’s this?’ It’s girl cots. You stressed over and over to avoid boy cots. I went to two stores and then ended up at the Maxi-mart by my house. The clerk knew what I had in mind when I said girl cots. I was lucky to find a worker to help me. Most of them were outside the store, carrying signs about higher wages.”
I smiled. What else could I do? She’s my mother. Rather than tell her I didn’t mean avoid boy cots, but boycotts, I said, “These are girl cots, but they’re too small. Let’s go back to the store and, uh, exchange them or get bigger ones.”
We loaded everything in my SUV and drove to the store. There were the picketers with signs for higher wages and saying to “Boycott Maxi-marts.” Momma, ever the pastor’s wife, suggested we pray for the picketers and their families. “They just want to make a decent living.” So, we prayed.
Then Momma grabbed one box, I grabbed the other. We needed a shopping cart but there were none outside. That’s when we saw a young man trying to push a row of carts inside the store. Two picketers started yelling and pushing him.
I grabbed at Momma as she rushed forward to help. I dropped the box and another picketer came over to me. He had kind eyes. “Let me help you,” he said. He picked up the box and handed me his sign. “I’ll get you a cart.”
A shoving and yelling match erupted between picketers and the guy with the carts, Momma in the middle. I yelled, “Leave my mother alone.” Seriously, where did that news crew come from? Me, caught on camera, scowling and yelling, waving a sign.
At least they interviewed me afterward, and I explained what happened. Oh, and I bought camping cots for my girls.
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