My older son is 22 and a sharp shooter in the Army, full-time college student and full time worker. I am praying he never reads this, and am fairly confident he wont. He does not take much interest in my writing.. ( I know, I don’t get it either). For the purpose of this story I will call him ” stinky “. It takes place in a quiet southern town about 50 miles northwest of Orlando Fl. in about 1995. In a grocery store called Publix.
Stinky was 2 years old and riding on the kid part of the shopping cart, you know – the part where they just stare at you until something on the shelf catches their eye, they lunge for it, you swerve, they cry? Yeah that type deal. Well Stinky and I were at about the half way point of our shopping trip when I noticed a slight scent coming from the same vicinity that Stinky was sitting. At first I panicked of course but then as a new first time dad would do, I ignored it and reminded myself that I had out a ” pull up” on him right before we came in the store.
This was right when pull-ups had come out, and were a true Godsend, just in case. We went about another aisle down and I noticed the scent was getting stronger and I admit I began to worry a little. Not knowing what exactly to do in the middle of this giant store, I began to slow my roll and let the others pass me by while strategically heading to the diaper/wipes/paper towel isle. As I approached this isle, I happened to glance down at the newly waxed tiled floor of the grocery.
We got a problem.
I remember thinking to myself that I had not recalled seeing any little brown dots peppering the tiles before. I quickly grabbed the nearest bag of paper towels, ripped them open and leaned down, to wipe-the dots off the tiles around me. I remember going in reverse, and wiping up a few tiles behind us as well. It was then I realized that I had no idea this breadcrumb poop trail had been going on. I just remember ripping through the paper towels and making sure I grabbed ” Bounty ” the “quicker picker upper”. Within seconds I found myself going into a kneeling position, one hand on the cart ( pulling backwards) and one hand full of paper towels wiping poop drops as I went backwards dodging other shoppers and acting as if I was looking for my contact or something.
Within a minute I was zipping back at high rate of speed, weaving and bobbing between other shoppers. I was good. So good that within about 4 minutes and 2 rolls of Bounty, I had reached the end of the trail..finally. I wiped up the last splatter and casually made my way to the men’s room. You see, new parent or not, I am a smart cookie. I remembered to bring an emergency outfit and pull-up for such a time as this. I am not bragging here, but within 5 minutes my boy and I were calmly exiting the men’s room as if nothing had gone down..er, well you get it .
As I calmed down we shopped some more, and finally decided we had all we needed. I gave myself a little mental pat on the back for handling it as well as I did. We rolled up to the checkout counter and waited our turn. I think I was playing peek a boo or something as we waited. Heck I thought, nobody needs to know about this one. It was our little secret. So finally the line died down, and we pulled up and began unloading our groceries. The checkout girl was kind enough to help and we began to toss things on the belt. About 2 minutes into it, I noticed the girl making a funny face and she began to cough. Not the ” I have a cold ” cough, but a sickly and frowning face type of cough. Within a minute she began to let out a quiet but audible shriek and then said then she said these words ” What is that smell?”
I’m cool – I mean I cleaned it all up. I thought.
As it turns out, dad forgot to check one spot- the spot directly below the kid’s poop shoot in the cart. As it turns out I guess the girl happened to pullout a package of ground beef from directly below Stinky. The package had little brown droppings on it. Before I could get her attention, she was on the store loudspeaker begging for assistance on isle 4. It went something like ” clean up on isle 4 ” and by the time she had run her big mouth all over the speaker, a parade of bag boys, and a few managers had made their way up to see and smell what went on.
I remember a collective ” ooh gross ” from the customers in line behind me while scattering to another line, me begging to pay the bill, and stinky just smiling through it all. What started as a proud daddy and son shopping day, ended as a walk of shame to the parking lot in slow motion. A group of bag boys were sent to follow us and retrieve the cart so they could rinse and scrub it. I humbly put Stinky in his car seat and we drove off into the moon-light.
To this day I cannot eat raisinets or milk-duds. I know, I know its gross.