Now here is a worthy goal for any grandfather, to get into his car, pay all the tolls and make that 45 minute drive to the Marquee Mall in Angles City, here on Luzon. There are plenty of other malls closer and easier to get to, but only this mall would do, because this is the mall that has a “Toys R Us” store. (I tried to type the “R” in reverse as it is on the sign, and I failed.) The reason this was the only store that would do, is because my granddaughter wanted a Hula Hoop. My son-in-law Chris and my daughter Hanna spent a month searching and had no luck finding one. I went on line and found the location of Toys-R-Us and then called them, where the quickly informed me they didn’t carry that product.
I almost took them at their word, and then remembered my story on “Out Of Stock”, and thought that I’ll never really know unless I get off my duff and go there myself. When I arrived I parked and entered the mall and started searching for the store that was my prime objective. I went to the map, totally useless as all it told me was “You Are Here” and I already knew that. Or should I stop and ask directions at the information booth? Absolutely not, as I feared that they would inform me that that store was not in this mall at all.
Off on foot, to search on my own and there on the second deck I saw the store like a beacon in the night,”TOY’S – R -US” and I beat a path to its door, where I was greeted by a large group of young people who all wanted to help me in my quest.
“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this.”
So like my childhood hero Don Quixote, I tilted my lance and charged that windmill, I stated to that gathering of youth; “I am in dire need of a Hula Hoop!” The group went quite, hands move slowly to the head scratching position; I could feel my hopes being dashed on the rocks of fate. When out of the crowd one little lady who had not scratched her head, looked up from the masses, and beamed at me with her pretty brown eyes, then said; “Follow me sir!” The item was there, like Excalibur glowing from the stone, six hoops in many pretty colors and designs. Were they Hula Hoops? No, they were called “Wave Hoops” I was not about to quibble with semantics when I’d accomplished my goal with the able aid of my very own Sancho Panza: “Which one would you like, sir?” The girl with the dancing eyes asked glowing with pride for a job well done. “Miss I want them all.” I said with a smile, and I left the store happy and pleased with the help I received. Wait, hey Paul what about the phone call? I told myself that they were correct, there were no Hula Hoops, Wave Hoops Na Lang!
Wondering why I got six? Nieces of course, I can’t give to one, even if she’s my granddaughter, without sharing with the other girls. It’s those brown eyes looking at me again! I’m a weak, weak man!
Now I’m done, I have only one small but important thing left. First find Mayang. Thank the heavens for cell phones, and then the care and feeding of my shopping wife. We set a time to meet at T.G.I.F’s for lunch, Okay, she set the time and I’ve got an hour to kill walking around with six Wave Hoops over my shoulder.
I found a store that sold model cars, ships and airplanes. They had a very large selection and mostly stateside brands in stock. I thought there must be something wrong, and I was right. They stocked no glue, no paints or X-acto knifes. I smiled and left the store thinking; “Why would I expect anything else?”
While waiting for Mayang, I wandered into a Tru-Value Hardware store. One of the things I noticed was the cost of Gas BBQ Grill’s; I mean its an item you would have to really want, if you would spend P. 55,400.00 to own it. And they didn’t even have the lava rocks that go with it. But at that price I figured that they’d substitute Gold Nuggets instead of those lava rocks. But I remembered that I am the proud owner of the second “Mindanao Bob’s Deluxe BBQ Grill” So, I don’t need no stinkin’ gas grill!
Over in the household appliances section I found items that I’ve been looking for a few years. There on the shelf was a Presto Fry Baby, (a tiny deep fat fryer), a counter top electric grill, and the George Forman (as seen on TV) grill. These are items that I call nice to have, I can live without them, but why should I? I’ll explain why, because as I headed up to the checkout I noticed that all three items were 115 volts vice the 220 that is used in the Philippine Islands. Fifteen years ago I divorced myself of anything that was not 220 volts, I almost asked why they were selling them here, and then I remembered where here was. Left the cart where it was and went to T.G.I.F to have lunch with my bride.
When I got home it was Christmas in May, happy little girls with hoops a spinning. Did I forget to mention, I got some things for my nephews’ too. I know how the game is played! So my trusted steed is put out to graze, my lance is back in stowage, and Sancho Panza I left at the mall to help fellow travelers on their own quest.
Disclaimer: No mall employees were injured during the writing of this article.