NOTE: True story, you can’t make this shit up!
A few days after I turn “45-plus-a-few” I was strolling through the local “Mart” when I heard a booming voice behind me, “Where can I find shower curtain rod?”
My first thought was, what part of this ensemble I’m wearing screams “I work here”, maybe from the back I look like I stroll aisles all day long! So I turned around to find a rather larger elderly gentleman in overalls. Brought up to respect my elders I said, “Well Sir, right down the aisle past the sheets” and pointed him in that direction.
“I don’t know where anything is in this place.” said “Cletus” (my inner nickname for this gentleman). So I repeated the directions. “My wife left me four months ago and I can’t find anything!” Hearing the frustration in his tone I proceeded to show him the way to the shower curtain rods. After a selection was made, he told me he needed a mattress cover. “They are right around the corner,” I stated. “Can you show me?” inquired Cletus.
So I showed him the mattress covers, seems the selections were to “hoity-toity” for this gentlemen, he wanted “a simple plastic cover that zips over the mattress,” as his recently was “destroyed.”
“Well Sir, I don’t think you’re going to find that here.” I said.
“My name is Ron (sure it is – Cletus), what do you do when you’re not helping men in the Mart?” he asked.
“I work at the local Military Base.” said I
“Well, you and me have a lot in common!” grumbled Cletus (AKA Ron) – (REALLY I can’t wait to hear this one! I mumbled under my breath).
Cletus continued to tell me about his 22 year Air Force Career, his stint with the local police and his final career with Juvenile Detention before his final retirement – OK so this places Cletus around 75yrs old.
At this point I said my goodbyes and continued on with my shopping – Cletus followed behind like a dog in heat.
“Do you like canoeing and fishing?” he asked. “Not really on the top of my list.” I yelled back over my shoulder as I continued to stroll away at a quickened pace.
“Too bad, I have 40 acres of land with a very large pond on it that I’m willing to share.” spouted Cletus.
“I’m sure you will find someone to share it with,” I said
“Do you do dinner?”
“You never eat?”
“No, I’m kind of a work-a-holic, if I’m not at work I’m usually working at home.” I said – walking quicker.
Cletus continued to tell me of his kids and grand kids, the trouble with his wife who is now gone – I felt like Lucy Van Pelt with a 5cent sign hung above my head! This continued for quite a while, all the time I was looking ahead for the next turn to try to loss my “stalker” (he had lost the “grandpa like charm” for me about aisle 24 – now it was getting creepy!)
“I need chainsaw oil.” Cletus interjected (quite a conversation turn.)
This statement made me stop and turn around; “Well, if the Mart has chain saw oil, it would be over in the tool area.” and I pointed in that direction.
At this time I noticed another older gentleman standing watching the conversation – suddenly this gentleman said to me with authority, “There you are, I’ve been looking for you!”
YES!! A way out! “Me too!” and I turn to Cletus and said “Well, I have to go!” and pointed to my unsung hero across the aisle.
As I strolled away with this other gentleman I whispered “Thank you!”
His reply, “Well, do you do dinner?”
NOTE: When retelling this story at work I came to a few conclusions:
(1) It is obviously that my Glory Days are over! Long gone are the days where I attract the suave George Clooney types and here are the Days of Cletus!
(2) I may have missed my golden opportunity because if Duck Dynasty has taught us anything it is that you can’t judge a billionaire from his clothes, hair or lack of teeth!
(3) I’m worried about Cletus’ wife – you don’t have to be Matlock to put 1, 2 and 3 together – broken shower curtain rod, mattress cover destroyed and broken chain saw plus large private pond in the middle of 40 acres. Hmmmmmmmmmm (editor’s note; this is not an accusation – just an observation!)