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INKLINGS

  • Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shopping for fun . . . for some Gift shop.          

These are two of my favorite four-letter words. I come by that honestly. My late mother was a huge fan and her DNA has trickled down and pooled in both my sister Cynthia and myself. Now my father, like my husband, was not fond of shopping for much of anything, much less in the gift category, and was even less fond of stopping the car on trips unless the gas tank was on dead empty. Mom would notice a highway sign that said “Gift Shop 25 miles.” She would say, “Oh Bob, let’s stop there for just a minute.” My father, through much practice, was adroit at avoiding all such requests. “Sorry Mary,” he’d intone earnestly (but fallaciously) as he whizzed past said shop. “Didn’t see it in time!” (Or: “I was looking the other way.” Or: “The radio distracted me.” We’ll certainly stop for the next one.”) We never did. Not while he drove. But once we were checked into a beach bungalow, we girls went shopping.          

Jim and I have a three-pronged pre-marital agreement which has gone a long way to insure the longevity of our marriage: “I don’t cook steak or clean fish. We have separate checking accounts. And unless we are buying a house or another huge purchase or there is a scary amount of blood involved, we don’t shop together.”          

During the last couple of decades of her life, mom and her diligent daughters went on many a trip together and all of them included stopping at any gift shops along the way. This means even ones that entailed getting off the highway and diverting to a nearby town. Once we were going to Texas to visit the male Lynch contingent. Jim asked us tongue-in-cheek where we made our first gift-shop-stop. “Walterboro,” we answered truthfully. “How could you possibly make your first stop just a half-hour into your trip,” he fumed. You can’t make good mileage that way.”          

“We’re more interested in merchandize than mileage,” mother retorted.          

“I wouldn’t go on a trip with you three females for anything” he would chide when he heard such a tale. We always told him that was no worry – he’d never be asked!          

Jim, like my dad, is a destination shopper. If he needs white socks, he goes into a men’s store and gets them. Then he goes home. If for some unaccountable reason the shop doesn’t have what he wants, he will unhappily go to another store. He gets the socks and goes home. He doesn’t do any looking around. To him that’s a total waste of time.          

 To the females in his family, this is the real fun of such shopping. And we have a mantra we religiously follow after hemming and hawing over several possible purchases, declining to buy, then having a change of heart and going back only to find that treasure had been sold. I can’t tell you how many times mother, who had a much cherished doll collection, retold the story of the beautiful Japanese doll in a red silk kimono that “got away.”            

Our mantra? “If you really, really love it – and it speaks to your heart – and you have the money to spend – GET IT!          

Works for us every time.

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