Back in the day my morning routine was jump-started by a trip to my local 24-hour department store where I would get lost in the fabric department planning my next project.  Over the years, I’ve become quite friendly with the Manager of that department.  I would always seek her advice on different fabrics for my projects.  I would bring my projects in to show her and get her opinion.  I even knew her schedule to be sure she’d be there when I got there.  When a certain pattern would come in, she’d put it aside for me knowing “I had to have it.” We would roll out the project on the cutting tables surrounded by handfuls of bolts.  If any other customer came up to ask for assistance, it would totally throw us off our game, and she’d have to help them.  Don’t they know she is my personal fabric consultant?  She’d hurry them along and get back to my project still laid out all over the table.   We shared many a laugh as I purchased thousands of dollars worth of fabric, for hundreds of projects.  When the store announced they were getting rid of the fabric department, I told her she could come work for me out of my basement, as that is where all the fabric from her department is being held hostage.  Luckily, the fabric department never went away; even if they did downsize.  Through all of our dealings, we learned a lot about each other, each other’s lives, families, likes and dislikes.  We both like moose and we both love dogs… a lot.  That alone seemed to morph us into a whole new level outside of fabric.  We became friends, and suddenly had so much more in common.  We both lost our beloved dogs since we’ve known each other.  She has become a grandmother while I have become the mother of a six-year old camouflaged as an 82-year-old.

Although my role has changed at work, causing a stir in my morning routine, I still remain friendly and in contact with her, even if I don’t see her on a regular basis any more.  Rarely do I get to the store these days and if I do, I don’t spend very long there as I need to get back to the office to make big things happen.  Long ago we exchanged phone numbers, email addresses, and once she even came by the lake to visit while her husband was fishing in a nearby derby.   

This morning I was up early, got all my chores done, including walking the dog in the pouring rain and off to the store before work I go.  Excited to see my friend (it’s been about six weeks since I saw her last)  I get all my shopping done before I see her as my hasty exit is usually a mad scene of me dashing to the register to cash out and get to work because I’ve spent way too much time talking.

Crossing a few items off my list, I make my way to the fabric department.  She usually doesn’t stray too far from her department, but I never know exactly where she’ll be so I just search within the aisles of her command.  Pushing a cart full of misfit stuff, she comes around the corner, almost hitting my carriage.  She looks up with a scowl on her face like ‘Aren’t you looking?’ until she sees it’s me.  Then she shakes her head, smiles and says “Where the hell have you been?”  I take a minute to ponder what to tell her first as there are always so many things to say.  She waits patiently as I drone through the fuzzy details of my most recent past.  Her turn… she tells me this and that and then someone from another department interrupts us and asks her for keys to the ammo locker in the gun department.  I stay behind to look at fabric while she assists.  Seconds later she comes back saying “Hey I forgot to tell you, I took a Girls on Target course.”  “Cool, what is that?”,  I say having no idea what she’s talking about.  She goes on to tell me she learned how to shoot a gun.  She has my full attention now and I ask her to explain why.  She says it was something she always wanted to learn and something she could do with her husband.  We started talking about different kinds of guns, again, a subject I know nothing about, and she lit up when she told me she didn’t want a girly gun, she wanted something that would “do the job” (what a bad-ass… love it!).  If she needed it for protection, she wanted something that wouldn’t give someone a second chance to get up if she shot him down in self-defense.  We talked a bit more and in true fashion, she said she wanted some practice hunting in the wild with her husband.  If she could bring herself to kill an animal, she’d have no problem protecting herself against a human.  I totally get it.  As she went on about different gun models and what they do, I just looked at her and pictured her in total self-defense control.  Of course, I don’t really think she’d ever be able to shoot an animal, unless it meant either it or her, but a person, no problem.  She looked so cool demonstrating with her hands the style and size of gun she wanted.  A real Pistol Annie.  As I drove back to work, I was reminded of the time my dad bought me a gun for protection.  I was newly divorced with a toddler and my dad thought I needed a gun.  So, without asking me, he showed up to visit and presented me with a ‘Saturday Night Special’ pink (yes, pink) woman’s gun.  I was a nervous wreck and made him take it back home with him.  I didn’t want it in the house with a toddler.  I never saw it again, we never talked about it again.  I will never forget what it looked like and how small it was.  It was designed to fit in your handbag, or in your bra.  I could envision me giving myself an accidental double mastectomy.

As Girls With Guns surely kick ass, I think I’ll stick with squirt guns for now.

Good to see you, as always…