Dinner. A movie. No, scratch that. The steakhouse meal was far too rich. We’ll need to go home soon.
“Gramma has the kids. Wanna stop and get the grocery shopping done?”
And so we do. At least we’re together. She scrolls through the shopping list on her phone. I push the cart.
“Do we need yogurt?”
“Sure. Get some strawberry. Madeline really likes strawberry.”
“Wouldn’t want to enrage the yogurt racist, would we?”
“You need to stop calling her that.”
“I will… as soon as she opens her shadowy heart to the mixed berry yogurts. Till then…” I shrug my shoulders and roll my eyes.
Other couples are steering carts and scratching items from lists. I wonder how many Grandmothers in our little borough are busy feeding pizzas to grandkids right now.
“Do we need cereal?”
I toss boxes into the cart from five feet away.
“Did you see that?” I’m incredibly proud of my skill.
“I’m trying not to see it,” she says and scans the instant oatmeal options on the opposing side of the aisle.
“I’ll bet I can make it from here,” I say, take a step back, and position myself for an Apple Jacks free throw.
Clean up in aisle eight.
“I think we have enough cereal,” I say and scurry away with the cart while asking, “Soup?”
“Yeah, like right now,” she affirms and follows.
It’s the same story in the next aisle. Plink. Plunk. Plank. The chicken noodle soup cans ricochet from the wiry sides of the cart and come to softened stops against the cereal boxes with crushed corners.
“You miss with one of those,” she says, “and I’m calling you out in front of everyone.”
She upset my rhythm. Clean up in aisle seven.
“The uncoordinated guy in the red coat,” she calls out, “he did it! This guy right here! It was all him!”
A popped can of Spaghetti-Os makes a sizable mess, I think as I cower and scoot around the corner.
“That was a cruel thing to do to me on date night,” I say to my bride as she strolls beside me.
“Let’s just get this over with.”
“But I love spending time with you.”
“You’re being a dork.”
“How much hamburger? Two pounds? Four pounds? Okay, four. Hey, watch this…”
“Dooon’t you dare.”
“I’ll make it. I’m only… what… ten feet away?”
“But I’ll make it. I’ll aim for the paper towels.”
“You’ll hit the eggs.”
“No, I won’t. I got this. I’ll frisbee it in.”
“I’m leaving. And I’m taking the cart.”
“Awesome. I get an extra point if the target is moving.”
Crap. Say, that kinda looks like the newly squashed squirrel near the entrance to our subdivision. Clean up in Meat, Seafood, and Poultry.
Having whisked around another corner, I toss a couple of loaves of bread into the cart while she grabs the peanut butter and a couple of jars of strawberry jam.
“The cart was moving a little faster than I anticipated,” I say. “And what’s wrong with the raspberry jam? What, only strawberry jam is welcome in our home?” I shake my head, “She learned it from you, didn’t she? Our daughter learned it from you.”
She’s not speaking to me anymore, although she smiles to show she’s not mad.
Out at the car, “That was fun,” I say and jump shot the bread bags into the back of the van.
“Date night,” I hear her whisper as she opens the passenger door.
“How about we go home and I fix you a drink?” I ask through the van’s multiple rows just before the hatch closes.
“Sure,” she answers with a sigh and puts her head back against the rest realizing she should’ve left me with Gramma, too. “Sounds good.”
At home, Gramma greets us with the soft announcement that the kids are in bed. I manage a promised concoction of Tsarskaya Gold and lemonade. Only the best on date night. But not necessarily for me. I choose The Lost Distillery Company’s Lossit edition.
I choose this whisky, not because it is a lesser, but because it has “loss” in the name—and I had quite a few of those at Walmart tonight. It seems oddly fitting.
The whisky isn’t a loss, though. It’s easy and calming. Not too complex, but rather simple. And at the moment, enjoyable.
The nose is a distant peat smoke swath of berries and cream. A trace of black pepper comes late.
The palate is just as gentle with the peat. There’s berry syrup and a pinch of salt that so bizarrely becomes butter-like.
The finish would be short if not for the lagging alcohol nip, and yet the bite is barely noticeable through the arrested peat.
I don’t love it. But I do like it.
But then again, I don’t love grocery shopping. But I do like grocery shopping on date night with my wife. Although, I’m not so sure the feeling is mutual.