In country | Front Porch | Indy Week
Pin It

In country 

It's not every Quaker mother who can take her 7-year-old, fourth-born, soccer-sibling-supporting, war-obsessed son into an Army Navy Surplus Store. And why is this mother doing this particular act of nonsense? I had promised the visit to him weeks ago, when, racing to his sister's soccer game in Sanford, he caught a glimpse of GI Joe's Army and Navy Surplus. Ah, the squeal he let out then. Here now was our compromise moment: He'd spectate yet another of her games and I'd take him to GI Joe's the next time we were headed south. He and his best war-obsessed friend. It wasn't enough that I was contributing to the delinquency of my minor; I was contributing to the delinquency of another's minor as well.

As we were driving into Clayton to find the infamous GI Joe's, an enormous red, white and blue sign blasted its message on the edge of town: JOHNSTON COUNTY IS BUSH CHENEY COUNTRY. Immediately I had that sick-to-my-stomach feeling, the one I've had for four years now, but particularly in the last few months as over and over again, we're all blasted with red, white and blue messages disguised as patriotism. I touched the Kerry/Edwards button on my sweatshirt. I'd bargained a stick of gum for it earlier in the morning, with same son, because it wasn't quite as loud as my usual North Carolinians for Kerry button. I started to think I might not be so welcome in Johnston County.

I followed the two ecstatic boys into the store. The ninja swords were displayed front and center. Bins of water containers, camo gear, boots, belts, caps, packs, bandannas and T-shirts jumped out at us. They walked silently down the aisles, occasionally touching something. Then they stopped in front of the grenade bin. Loud whispering ensued.

"D'you think they're real?"

"Course they're not real. If they were real we'd BLOW the place, like this...." and one of them pulled on the pin.

I whimpered softly.

"Mom. They're not real."

"They look real," I said.

"Mom, they're not real. They can't sell real grenades."

"They're just 7 bucks."

"A grenade for 7 bucks. We could get two."

"We could blow up the neighborhood."

"Uh...." (me again).

"Mom."

Camo belts were selected to finish off their gear.

"We can slip the rings through the loops."

"We'll have them whenever we need them."

"We can make a surprise attack."

"No one will hear us, then, BOOM."

I slunk up to the counter to help them pay for their gear. I watched them hand over their allowance. It was not my allowance, I said over and over again to myself. And then the owner, a short, crew-cut man leaned near me, looked sideways and whispered, "Where'd you get your button?"

"Up in Durham."

He nodded his head.

I whispered back. "I wasn't sure I'd be received that well down here..."

He looked sideways again and raised his finger to point at my pin. "I'm a Republican and I'm voting for THAT man."

I took off my pin and handed it to him. He waved his hand at first, but then accepted when I insisted. I don't know where he'll wear it. I didn't see too many Kerry signs the rest of the afternoon. But I walked out of GI Joe's a more relieved Quaker mother than when I'd walked in.

And the grenades? Haven't seen them since we left the soccer field.

Latest in Front Porch

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Front Porch

  • One vote

    • Nov 12, 2014
  • Box of one

    Was I paying to be helped or to feel important, a bona fide expert on only myself?
    • Sep 24, 2014
  • The Old South (Hills)

    The Old South (Hills)

    • Sep 17, 2014
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Nobody will be surprised to learn that Hocutt never went to Nam. He was in the Navy but washed out …

by Jefflenter on Raleigh bad boy no more (Front Porch)

I see his concern. Yes, it was a well written story and showed his caring side for sure. But not …

by Linda Bates Terrell on Motorcycle men (Front Porch)

Follow-up to my "nervous mom" comment. The last coupe of weeks we have been in many situations with individuals that …

by paulapowers on Governor's School blues (Front Porch)

Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Most Read

  1. Drawn to Durham (Peripheral Visions)
  2. What Makes a Farm a Farm? (Back Talk)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation