Walmart is the community ‘come as you are’ store

Pat Van Dyke Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Pat Van Dyke
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

There are times when my family doesn’t have to tell me to “call it quits” concerning one of my favorite pastimes: sewing. Part of the problem is that Pastor Pete helps feed into my addiction. For Valentine’s Day, he gave me a brand new sewing machine. Some may consider this a very non-romantic gift, but for me, it is so totally romantic.

A vacuum cleaner or coffee maker would be considered a huge mistake for me. The reason being, I hate to vacuum and I have only ever had two cups of coffee in my entire life! But a new sewing machine!! Score!!

As soon as I start up the machine, our family room carpet becomes a minefield of needles, straight pins, hooks and eyes, and any other miniscule item that can find its way to be buried deep in the nap of the carpet, only to rise again and find its way to Pastor Pete’s feet.

Add to that all of those tiny pieces of Legos that have been waiting years for the opportunity to attack and we now have a battlefield that only General Patton could reproduce! Walking across the family room carpet in the middle of the night is an invitation to disaster.

The one huge disadvantage of my sewing addiction is that we live so far from any stores that supply the necessary tools to complete a project. I have done the research and there is only one place within a 20-mile radius where I can get a zipper: Walmart!

There are so many times that Walmart has come to my rescue. You can find everything you need for a last-minute 5th grade science project. And the 4th grade mission project? Go to Walmart! (I got an A on my grandson Bill’s mission project 10 years ago . . . and three other kids used it after that and received an A too!)

I view Walmart as our local “come as you are store.” But last week, on a zipper run, it was rather discouraging when Pastor Pete took notice of how I was dressed: blue pajama pants, red sweatshirt, green handbag and old black tennis shoes. I knew I wasn’t making a fashion statement, but this is Walmart!

It’s the place that I can go and, if I see anyone I know, I can always hide under one of the displays of men’s T-shirts or jump behind the tire display. It was on this day that Pastor Pete finally put his foot down and refused to hold my hand as we were walking into the store.

One place that Bill and I spend hours is the fishing section. Where else can you come face to face with 10 pounds of frozen squid or multiple live earthworms? All of this has a tendency to find its way into my refrigerator, right next to the cheesecake.

Walmart is often where we spend our “Friday Night Date Night.” I know that sounds terribly romantic. We usually start in the fruit juice aisle for prune juice, visit the hair care for “guaranteed to cover the gray” coloring, and our last stop is in the lotions for my monthly purchase of “Oil of Delay.”

Whenever we are celebrating a special day – Valentine’s, anniversaries, birthdays – we go into the greeting card section and show each other the card that we would buy for one another and then put it back in the display. Pastor Pete usually picks one out for me that states “extra postage required.”

You can buy everything you need at Walmart. Where else but Walmart can you buy a 20-pound bag of fertilizer and 5-pound bag of sugar at the same register. Come to think of it, when we were kids we could never figure out why people bought fertilizer. Pastor Pete and I both grew up on dairies and we didn’t have to buy fertilizer. We always had plenty in stock!

One of my biggest challenges is to find a shopping cart with wheels that thump and pull to one side. I love a shopping cart with some fight in it! You can usually find me struggling to keep the cart moving in the same direction that I do. Some people love driving sports cars. I love the challenge of fighting with a Walmart shopping cart. It helps to meet my desire to ride a bull at a rodeo!

And then there’s the “flow of traffic.” I didn’t know that there are rules about what side of the aisle to walk on, but Pastor Pete insists that I always walk with the inside of the aisle to my left. When I am in a hurry, I find myself on the wrong side of the aisle, cutting corners and speeding. I even have encountered a crash or two when I’m making a left hand turn from the right side of the aisle.

I’m thankful that the Walmart Greeters aren’t undercover Walmart Highway Patrol. But if they are, I plan to outrun them by racing through the garden section and hiding in a shed.

Must go now. My sewing machine is calling my name. I have four handbags to make before July Fourth. I’ll have to check if Walmart has zippers that are red, white and blue.