I had to stock up.

We made it exactly five weeks without grocery shopping.  And even though we still had some frozen cherries and canned green beans in the stockhold this morning, today was the day I called the standoff and headed to town to stock up on fresh produce.

We have, of course, been trying to socially distance ourselves and stay close to home.  I had made a big grocery-getting trip in March and determined to stretch those goods as far as possible — being, of course, ever grateful for that freezer full of beef that comes with the job here.  We Blakes made what we had last a long time, and in all honesty we could probably have survived another week or more… but gosh, we got to thinking about apples.  And tomatoes.  And grapes.  I’m not convinced good ol’ fresh produce can be totally replaced with canned and frozen options.

And so, knowing we are privileged just to have the option, I headed to town this afternoon to grocery shop.

(As a side note, despite official warnings to avoid exactly this, it’s very difficult for an Eastern Montanan to grocery shop without appearing to be stockpiling.  Around here, we stock up as a way of life.  At 70 miles from the nearest Walmart — and 40 from anything but a convenience store — we always go big when we go grocery shopping.  I can remember being very self-conscious about it when I was a little girl, assuming people at the grocery store wondered why my mom and I heaped our cart (sometimes carts) so full of groceries.  The reasons, I see now, were that we wouldn’t be back to the store for a month, and that Mom had several brandings to cook for in the coming weeks, and furthermore, it’s likely nobody noticed anyways because we live in Eastern Montana and everyone stocks up here.  It’s what we do.

So, admittedly, I did stock up a bit today at the store — because I just can’t help myself.  A few things I noticed while I was there:

-I think there were more people working at Walmart than shopping.

-I’ve never seen a Walmart so clean.

-There are still limits on handsoap.

-The rice aisle was still totally picked over.

-The produce selection was great.  But then, I’ve been eyeing the green grass that’s popping up around here with appreciation, so a chlorophyll deficiency might have swayed my judgment.

-The kayaks were calling out to me from the front of the store.  I took a picture and texted it to Beau, who had stayed home with the kids while I shopped today.  He has this years-long dream of buying a kayak… or two… or six.  A dream of our entire family paddling around on the water together.  And this time of year, when Walmart and other stores so cunningly display the kayaks in all their colorful, summery glory out front, it’s mighty tempting to invest in one of every size.  I totally expect Beau to come home from town some day with a horse trailer full of kayaks.  Until then, we’ll continue to dream…


© Tami Blake

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