Have Grocery Sack -- Will Travel

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 01, 2017

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Submitted: November 01, 2017



Have Grocery Sack – Will Travel 

It's not that I didn't want to lend my nine-year-old son a sports bag, nor was it that I couldn't afford to buy him one. No, it was simply a matter of preference -- his preference to travel light when invited to stay overnight at the home of a school friend. That meant, to my dismay, any grocery sack would do, and he stubbornly held fast to his way no matter what misgivings I might have had.

I often argued that no one that I knew traveled this way. I even mentioned that it might reflect badly on me. But he couldn’t be swayed; it had to be a grocery sack or nothing!

I could just imagine what the host mother must have been thinking when she answered the door. Looking down at my four-foot something, sandy-haired boy clutching his grocery sack tightly in his hand, she must have said to herself, “Couldn’t his mother afford to give him something better than a grocery sack to carry his belongings?”

Oh well, if that is what those mothers were thinking, I muttered to myself, I’ll just have to take it in my stride. I’ve heard that when it comes to kids of a certain age, it’s best that you pick your battles, and I decided to forgo this one.

Well, this manner of travel with the grocery sack continued on into his college years. I know it for a fact, because he told me in some detail about the time his roommate invited him to come for a weekend visit to his grandmother’s estate on the banks of Lake Tahoe. This turned out to be no ordinary visit – one he, no doubt, will never forget, nor will I.

True to form, my son arrived at the grandmother’s palatial manor, grocery sack in hand. He rang the bell and was soon greeted at the door by the butler, whose deadpan expression conveyed neither surprise nor wonderment as he relieved my son of his sack and asked him to follow to the guest bedroom. There the butler removed my son’s extra pants and shirt from the sack, carefully laying them out on the bed, after which he dutifully placed the sack in the closet. Incidentally, never before or since has my son seen service like this. I can attest to that!

Oh, yes, then there was the matter of the dinner. I could just picture it as he later related it to me. It was almost a rerun of a scene I once saw in a movie. There was gran-ma-ma sitting at the head of a long table, little bell in hand. When she tinkled it, maids magically appeared with food in hand. Tinkled it twice, these same maids reappeared, removed the plates, and then returned with the second course. And so on.

I couldn't get my son to tell me what he ate that night. He probably didn't remember, because his focus was elsewhere – elsewhere being at the head of the long table. I can just see him, mouth agape, intently watching gran-ma-ma and her little bell.

When he returned from his visit, I remember asking him, “Son, I couldn’t help but wonder how the butler reacted when he saw you clutching a grocery sack.”  “Nothing out of the ordinary,” he replied matter-of-factly. However, I could well imagine that there were plenty of laughs in the service quarters that night.

It’s been some years since my son graduated from college. Now he is married and makes his living as a marketer, which requires him to do some traveling.

I’m pleased to note that he no longer carries a grocery sack in place of a suitcase or sports bag. However, I think that if he had his druthers, he would prefer the grocery sack – but now he has a wife to contend with, and she won’t let him!






© Copyright 2019 Ida J. Lewenstein. All rights reserved.

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