So, we had just returned to America (in the midst of Covid) and were through our quarantine at home – I mean, after all, we had just traveled halfway across the world in the middle of a pandemic …
It was the month of my mom’s birthday – April 2020 – and we also needed a few supplies at the rental where we were staying.
And, let’s just be a little honest, I wanted out of the house. To explore.
To see the world!
So, we hopped in our borrowed car and drove straight to Walmart!
My encounter there reminds me of fan favorite (and my personal favorite) Fresh Prince …
You remember the theme song?
If you do, you can sing our story …
Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down (Thanks, Covid!)
And I’d like to take a minute
To sit right there
I’ll tell you how I returned to a town called Chandler
In west Chandler born and raised (Actually born in Mesa)
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool
And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school (Erie and Knox! AJHS & CHS)
When a couple of shoppers who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood —- Walmart that is
I got in one little verbal fight and my husband got scared
He said ‘You’re not allowed’ back in your hood … #chandler
You got me. It wasn’t really a verbal fight. Sparring match. Or encounter of physical form at any time —- BUT —- believe me when I say, Walmart Chandler off of the 202 and Arizona Avenue heard from me!
And this is really how my story goes …
My husband (the better half of the Two Makes Crazy) and I were shopping, birthday shopping, Easter shopping, Mother’s Day shopping —- just generally, masked-up, crazed hand sanitized, shopping without littles or a teen in the mystical land full of all sorts of creatures – called Superstore (aka Walmart).
I found my mom the perfect gift. Yes, at Walmart. It couldn’t have been more perfect for my mom – let me explain why.
If you have met my mom, she is sunshine and delight. She is rainbows. And she is unicorns.
She is laughter and encouragement. The world needs more lovelies like her in it.
And her mom – my eldest daughter’s namesake, Marguerite (aka Tootsie), was laughter. She was a pint-sized miniature granny in a bottle.
She lived a full and extremely hard life. She lost big big big (burying 3 of her children, two as infants, and her husband) – and, yet, still managed to laugh well.
And Tootsie, sweet, feisty, amazing, Tootsie had a fan-favorite toy – if you could call it that.
It was a dancing bear that would dance and sing at the push of a button.
And the cackling laughter of a woman that has lived long would fill the room. Her laughter was loud. It was squeaky. It was combined with lots of exclamations.
And it was infectious.
Even if you didn’t think the stupid, dancing bear was funny, it would take you 2.3 seconds to, all of a sudden, find the obnoxious bear amazing. And you would push the dancing singing paw over and over again – simply to hear Tootsie laugh.
So – when I saw IT at Walmart, I just knew.
It beckoned me.
It called my name.
It was shiny.
It was musical.
It was a unicorn.
And it sang.
It was the perfect gift for my mom.
And, in the nostalgia of the moment, reliving the past while in the present, I pushed the button of this musical, dancing unicorn in the middle of the aisles of Walmart over and over again.
Best of all – it was the VERY LAST UNICORN on the shelf!
I had won.
Best gift of 2020 was going down with my name on it. And I just knew my mom would laugh – maybe not as loud, long, or hard, as Tootsie – but I knew it would bring joy!
And so I placed it in my cart, turned my back, and began looking for a card and bag to accompany it.
Within 2.5 seconds, there was a whoosh!
Like a flash.
So I turned.
Behind me, in my cart, was nothing.
And that’s when the Chandler in me came out and I threw down.
Okay, not literally.
I hollered, very (let’s just leave it at one very and, yet, imagine a very – very – very in there) loudly,
“Oh, COME ON, PEOPLE! DON’T STEAL FROM PEOPLE’S BASKETS! GET REAL!”
With my loud proclamation came, immediately, literally, before I could blink my eyes, a small crowd of curious shoppers.
“Are you okay?”
And the funniest of all —- “DID SOMEONE STEAL YOUR TOILET PAPER???!!!”
Yes, in the middle of a pandemic, you would think that would be a logical thing to get upset about – so imagine the surprise of the other shoppers when I said, “No, my magical, singing and dancing unicorn.”
Their concern for my cart-thievery did not hold.
After all, they did not care about my unicorn the way I did. Perhaps their toys that would dance and sing were not as memorable as mine.
So, they left.
And my cart remained empty.
But, no! I was not done.
I shouted again.
Let’s just say, the volume was ample.
“Really! A gift for my mom! Get real, people!”
And then I decided to do something kind-of stupid. Something that I would tell my teenager to never do – I went looking for a “Cart War!”
After all, they messed with my cart, I was coming after theirs!
So, I left the aisle I was in. I left my husband. I left my empty cart – and I began the trek around Walmart – eyeing everyone’s carts. Seeing if I could find the sneaky soul.
I know how to confront. I am not afraid of a fight. After all, I have broken up teenage fist fights in my neighborhood in Poland by grabbing their ears, as well as chased away bad men that were beating up a homeless man at a tram stop in Poznan.
I have served murders soup in my home.
And I have released my dog on approaching robbers in the middle of the night.
I have watched my daughter surrounded by machine guns at the Temple Mount.
And I have taken money back from a man because he did not deserve it. Literally – opened up his jacket, reached into his pocket, and took it back.
So there is no way that some lunatic at Walmart (I use that loosely, as I am most likely looking like the lunatic here) was getting away with my unicorn.
I mean, fortunately …
My mission was very short lived.
Apparently the cart thief did not think my unicorn worthy of a fight. So they ditched it on a clothing table.
My prize – tossed – haphazardly – in the middle of a pile of messy clothes.
I am sure it had a soft landing.
I picked it up, looked around for guilty faces. Saw none. (Sly thief)
And pushed the hoof.
Sure enough – the song and dance once again filled the store.
And laughter my memories.
Holding onto my unicorn, I found my husband (who did not pursue this unicorn on foot like I did). We made it through the rest of Wally’s World without incident – and the lovely, hard-fought, unicorn…
Well, let’s just say, it made it to my mom.
With a story to boot!
Maybe the unicorn doesn’t make her laugh as loud as Tootsie’s bear. But, with each push of the button, my heart is flooded with memories.
And, now, a new reason to smile.
I was back in my hood.
“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”
Article explaining the benefits of laughter: