As the two dozen or so of you who regularly waste valuable rod and cone time perusing posts hereon will recall, the Colonel's vast holdings are situated just north of the cultural center of the universe and home of the Harvard of the South (by reciprocal agreement, Harvard is allowed to call itself the Ole Miss of the North): Oxford, Mississippi.
Oxford is a wonderful place; a delightfully traditional, yet understatedly progressive (in the best, not political, sense of that word) town whose resident population doubles and halves with the convening and adjourning of classes at the school for which the town's founders named itself to attract the state's grant of it's flagship university one and two-thirds centuries ago. There are times in the year when it is a pure joy to amble through town, cruise it's byways, and frequent its stores and shops. But, anyone who has lived in this area for more than a year knows that there are times when it is just plain prudent not to get on the road and go to town if you can avoid it.
Last Friday -- Move-In Day for the population-doubling attendees of Ole Miss' Fall Semester -- was one of those days.
The Colonel's consort, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, evidently didn't get the memo. And the Colonel, willfully oblivious to specific times and dates -- with the exception of the time for sunrise and sunset and the opening dates of the college football and hunting seasons -- agreed, in his calendar ignorance and preference not to do chores outside in the sauna of August in Mississippi, to accompany his Lady on her bi-weekly shopping foray.
Traffic was gridlocked on every major artery into and out of Oxford.
Actually, "gridlocked" is an understatement that does not account for the antics of hundreds of coeds in SUVs attempting to rewrite the laws of physics. Where only a week before, the Colonel had cruised contentedly and with so little competition for lane space that he could dawdle and gawk at the beauty of a southern town in quiet, unhurried serenity, there now existed a clogged river of revving engines and unblinking brake lights.
The Colonel sat patiently at a traffic light through a half dozen cycles, and then turned to his bride, "Do you trust me, Honey?"
"Of course not! What are going to do with my car? Don't do something stupid!"
With that ringing endorsement bolstering his confidence, the Colonel gunned the engine, leaned on the horn, and executed a series of tire-squealing turns that so startled two dozen motorists in close proximity that two dozen other drivers not in close proximity heard through their cell phones loud gasps followed by the unmistakable sound of a cell phone hitting the floorboard.
Notwithstanding the distracting harmonic blend of high-pitched tire squeal and high-pitched female screech resonating in his ear drums, the Colonel managed to reorient 90 degrees, dart down a little known sidestreet (little known because it isn't exactly a street), squeeze through an alley, and zig-zag across a parking lot to reach their intended destination.
"You're going to get a ticket!"
"Not likely; ain't no cop gonna try that move!"
The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda was still complimenting her man's driving skill as they walked into Kroger, "I can't believe you did that! You never cease to amaze me!"
The Colonel reached for his lady's hand to thank her for her compliment but she brushed his hand away. Obviously, she didn't feel worthy to even hold his hand.
Inside the store, 27.3% of the female student population of the state's flagship university were cramming the aisles making a run on Lean Cuisine and Diet Mountain Dew. Miss Brenda sent the Colonel to grab a bunch of bananas while she navigated down the bread aisle. Upon completion of his mission, the Colonel turned to reacquire target lock on Miss Brenda and was dismayed to discover that she wasn't anywhere in sight.
The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda has long since mastered the art of instantaneous in-store disappearance. The Colonel can turn his head for just the most minute of moments and Miss Brenda will vanish into thin air in a move not even David Copperfield could replicate. When that happens, the Colonel has learned that the smartest thing to do is to go hang out in the sporting goods department and let Miss Brenda find him.
Kroger doesn't have a sporting goods department.
They got everything else. Tools. School supplies. Flowers. Light bulbs. Kitty litter.
But, they ain't got a gun, fishin' pole, nor carton of stink bait in the whole place.
"Don't panic," the Colonel told himself, surveying the sea of petite young ladies into which his bride had disappeared. "Just look for the prettiest lady in the store."
When the Colonel got tired of that, he decided it was time to go find Miss Brenda.