Rounding the coffee aisle corner Tamar smiles, waves. I motor my cart toward her. She grins. "I picked up sardines! Gefilte fish, too!! Yay!"
She knows I hate sardines and gefilte fish, cannot stand even a partially unrolled tin top or opened jar for the stench.
"You know," I say cheerily, "Sardines and gefilte fish are forbidden in Maryland domiciles and transporting and opening even one tin, a single jar, let alone polluting a home's climate with one, are Grounds."
"Grounds?" she laughs. "Like Postum? Like Chicory? Like you, Chock Full O'...?"
"GROUNDS!", I growl.
A young man and a young woman, fingering the grind-your-own machine down the aisle turn to me and frown in unison. She says, "Do you even know this woman you're a-bu-sing?"
I buzz the electric cart fifteen feet forward and glare in her face. She is emboldened. She turns to Tamar. "Ma'am, would you like me to get the manager for you? Security? This. Man. Is. A. Lout." The fellow at her side looks at the ground, says nothing.
Tamar starts to laugh, nods, says to the woman, "Do it."
I buzz two feet, my front wheel inches from her red sandaled toes. She stands her ground. Her hapless companion remains mute.
"Ma'am, I cannot know whether you are a visitor to Maryland or simply a dreadfully under-informed citizen. The transport of reeking sardines and gefilte fish to private homes has been illegal here since the Annapolis Ptomaine-Gefilte Fish-Sardine Scare of 2009 that sickened numbers of America's Finest Youth at our Naval Academy. You must have heard of it. I've no idea why my wife would want to violate the law by bringing them into our home."
"Doing so is Grounds."
Tamar makes an oversized What Am I to Do With This Man? gesture.
The woman, reddening toward a pique, nearly shouts, "Grounds? Grounds? She ought to leave you, leave you right here in the coffee aisle!"
Tamar steps to her, drapes an arm sadly across her shoulders, looks at her companion, looks back at her with understanding eyes and whispers,
We giggle our way home.