Well, folks, what goes along with football season? Hurricane season. Though it very rarely affects those of us in the western part of South Carolina, we do get rain and sometimes the power goes out.
Right now the coast is preparing for a whopper of a storm to hit them in the form of Hurricane Florence. Everyone east of Columbia has been told to get out of dodge, which means now there’s a run on essentials up here. The gas stations are putting limits on how much people can fill their tanks, bottled water is flying off shelves, and people are filling their propane tanks. If you can’t cook in your oven, every good Southerner knows how to grill.
With all the kids at school, the Grit Girls and I decided to trek to our local superstore to see what was happening and pick up some supplies. I figured I would need cookies and maybe some milk. No power and no wi-fi means my children will do nothing but eat, especially if school ends up cancelled.
We walked in, sans kids – which is like a vacation on its own, and surveyed the store.
Y’all. You would think we were in the direct path of this storm with the way people were acting. I mean, buggies full of bottled water, bread, peanut butter, snacks, and more. The lines were six and seven people deep and the store actually had more than three checkouts open.
“Bless it,” Delia said in a quiet exclamation. “Is this going to be worse than we thought?”
Frankie Ann moved her sunglasses to the top of her head, like a jeweled crown over soft brunette waves. “No. People just panic because the news tells them to,” she remarked in her practical way. “Let’s see if we can make a run on something ridiculous.”
She stepped off with determination, a hungry look in her eye.
I wasn’t about to get in the middle of pandemonium, let alone be the one to cause it. “Frankie Ann O’Malley, no! Do not get people all riled up about something silly,” I begged.
She laughed. “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if they all got worried about running out of something like deodorant?”
Delia picked up a bag of chips and tossed it into our communal buggy. “I’d laugh at that.”
“Well, so would I,” I admitted, “But that doesn’t mean we should make little old ladies mow each other down for something.”
I peered into the buggy of a passing patron. I saw at least eight packs of ribeyes, giant potatoes, herbs, and butter. Then I realized that was all sitting on top of at least twenty rolls of toilet paper. I shook my head and suppressed a giggle. People really do buy the strangest things when in a panic.
We meandered a bit, picking up some Cokes, a few bananas, and some other random items. Then I saw the oddest buggy of the day.
“Y’all,” I whispered. “Look at that buggy!”
Frankie Ann and Delia stopped and turned to see what I was pointing out. An older man with a cane stretched across the top of his buggy, struggling to push what could only be described as a mountain of toilet paper. I thought the guy with the twenty rolls seemed a bit excessive, but this was over the top. In all, the man probably had fifty rolls of mega sized toilet paper. Who needs that much toilet paper for a few days of rain?
But the real kicker was that atop the TP was carton after carton of eggs. Listen, I love to bake in a storm, so eggs for some cookies is a great thing to have on hand. But twelve dozen eggs? Who needs that many eggs? Nobody, that’s who!
“What is he doing with those?” Delia asked in astonishment.
“He’s going to egg and TP someone unsuspecting,” F.A. hissed with a snorted laugh.
“The poor guy can barely push his buggy,” I pointed out, “How will he vandalize a house?”
We followed the man at a safe distance – we didn’t want to become his first egg throwing victims in the store – to see if he put anything else in his buggy. F.A. grabbed a sample of popcorn from a vendor and followed with eager anticipation.
After a few false pauses to look at things, the older gentleman and his buggy of oddities finally stopped shuffling in front of the hair care aisle. We all watched as he looked left and right before leaving his buggy and going down to the hair color. He quickly chose a gold colored box, shuffled back to his buggy and dropped the box behind the toilet paper.
“What?” Frankie Ann looked shocked.
I quickly slipped down the aisle once the man had moved to see what he had chosen. The gold box had a picture of a handsome, dark-haired man on the front.
“What is it?” Delia asked impatiently.
“Chestnut brown for the distinguished gentleman,” I replied, reading the box.
Both ladies barrelled down the aisle after me to see and broke into a fit of giggles.
“I wonder if he’s married or has a lady friend,” Frankie Ann said.
“What’s he going to do, in a hurricane, with all the toilet paper and eggs he’ll ever need and a box of hair color?” Delia asked.
We carefully watched the man check out and make his way to his old pick-up truck.
“We might hear about him on the news,” I said with a hearty laugh. “I can see it now…Old man dyes hair and go on vandalism rampage during storms.”
All three of us laughed until our sides hurt, ready to resume our quiet morning of watching South Carolinians prepare for the hurricane of the decade.