“Hey Libs, want to run some errands with me?”
I never turned down an opportunity to run errands with my dad. It was the complete opposite of going shopping with my mom, which was always a four-hour ordeal of grocery shopping, me doing her clothing returns and nail appointments. Don’t get me wrong, running errands with my mom was nice when I got to choose a box of cereal at the grocery store or got a new pack of ‘days of the week’ underwear from target; but with my dad, I didn’t need something tangible to keep me accepting the invitation to come along. My dad’s usual go-to store for the only errands he ever runs was at The Home Depot– our personal favorite. As a nine-year-old girl I had no use for anything in this warehouse of plywood, electric tools, and wires, but the change of my dad from businessman to handyman as he soared through the orange sliding doors was like Clarke Kent turning into Batman, iconic. He grabbed a cart, a diet coke from one of the check of fridges, and was suddenly Paul Bunyan walking through the smoke detector aisle. However, this was not a Home Depot run kind of day.
“What in the world is Ranger Mountain? You said we were going to run errands–I did not agree to go for a hike!”
“Gander Mountain,” he said, “don’t worry you will love it.”
Boy did he know me well. My dad and I share a similar sense of interests– well, sort of. My dad and I joke that we are outdoorsy people, but have never been camping or anything of the sort– although we would like to. Typically, this is seen as a father and son hobby. It’s funny because I have an older brother who can’t even bait a hook because he doesn’t like worms. So, I took on the honorary role of doing all the boyish things that a typical nine year old girl would find to be repulsive.
We made our way into Gander Mountain and I swear it was like I wandered into an episode of Bear Grylls. There were Canoes hanging from the ceiling, walls lined with fishing poles, aisles and aisles of duck calls, camouflage, binoculars, turkey decoys– anything you could possibly imagine. My dad laughed when he saw the overwhelmed, yet intrigued expression on my face.
“Have at it.” he said.
This shines upon another factor of the cons list of shopping with my mom. With her, running errands literally meant running; but with my dad, well, neither of us liked physical activity…so.
I began my journey in the hunting aisle. I have never been an advocate for hunting, but they had so many different gadgets I couldn’t help my curiosity. They had crossbows, and clay targets to practice shooting. In the next section over, they had night vision binoculars and cameras. In the area marked as ‘strategy’ they had these camo hammock things that allowed you to hang from tree branches so animals couldn’t see you. What really got me were the scent attractants and cover scents. They use them so animals can’t smell your human scent– so as a technique of camouflage, these scents you sprayed on your clothes basically smelled like other animal’s urine. Naturally, I had to show my dad who much like me would probably think it was funny.
As I exit the aisle, I realize my dad never told me what exactly he was here for. I began weaving back and forth through the aisles like Pacman trying to find him all while holding a bottle of deer pee. I began to panic– I didn’t want to ask for help because all of the other shoppers in Gander Mountain were middle to old aged men in flannels and knee high fishing boots. I was afraid if I told them I was lost that they would think my dad was irresponsible and we would never be allowed back to this majestic store; or even worse, my dad would stop inviting me along to run errands.
It was time I took matters into my own hands.
“Camping.” I said to myself. “My dad knows how much I want to go camping, I bet he will eventually make his way there.”
I instantly knew I hit the jackpot with the camping section. They had a tent pitched, with two chairs set up in front of it and a fake fireplace in the middle. I sat down in the chair with my feet up on the other and scanned the walls around me: flashlights, pepper spray, fire starting kits. I had absolutely no problem waiting for my dad right here, in fact I think I enjoyed it for a little bit.
“Wow, what are the odds I’d find myself in a situation such as this. This act of maturity will for sure convince him to finally take me camping!”
After about five minutes, I began to get bored. Sitting in this chair made my butt go numb and remembering how long it takes my dad to scan through and read the label of every item in every aisle made my stomach rumble. As if it were a skill I acquired from years of camping experience, I remembered how my dad takes a diet coke from the fridges at Home Depot, drinks it while he cruises, and pays for it at the end. That means I could do that too! I didn’t walk too far before I found the camping food essentials: power bars, trail mix and water. I grabbed a few power bars and popped a water out of the plastic of a thirty-two pack and went back to my ‘campsite’. I tore open a power bar and had this unsettling vision of the store manager walking up and yelling at me, so I went into the tent, zipped it closed, and waited for my dad to come and find me.