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By Staff | May 14, 2010

Shopping is one of those jobs that I do not care to do. I avoid shopping in general. When I have to venture out to replace items that have been used up, I usually make a list of what I need and the stops I need to make to get them.

Armed with my list and my checkbook, I drive to my assigned stops, get what I need and return home.

I do have one weakness though. A stop at a farm supply store is an invitation to look at all the wonderful things on my way to buy what is actually on my list.

Farm supply stores have been around since I can remember. My dad had his favorite store where he bought everything from Combiotic and syringes to his traditional summer straw hat he wore each year. By summer’s end, he had worn a hole in the top of it from setting it on his head. Summer was over when he threw it away each fall.

While he was buying the things he needed, I would be wandering around my favorite parts of the store looking at the things that interested me. Part of my checking out my favorite areas was to see what was new or if anything had changed.

Years later, not that much has changed. The store is in a different location, it has gotten a lot bigger, and the name is different, but the sense of wonderment is still there. It remains one-stop shopping for a farm kid with gray hair.

On my way to get the softener salt, I can walk by tools, lanterns and batteries, penetrating oil, toy tractors and implements, lengths of chain, rope and hydraulic hoses, filters, light bulbs, all the things that may not be on my list, but this is the time to get them.

Walking by the clothing, I take a quick look at shirts, gloves, jackets, and anything else that may attract my eye.

Then there is the snack and candy aisle where it would be tempting to get something to eat on the way home or maybe something for later in the cab or just at my desk.

One of my farm stores has been known to have baby chickens in a water tank (no water, of course) with a heat lamp suspended just above the chicks. There is no way I cannot pause for a minute or so to look at those peeping yellow balls of fluff.

By this time, I have to remind myself why I am here and look at my list to make sure I get the things I really need. However, my backbone has all the strength of putty on a hot day in July and temptation is everywhere I look.

My cart has the things that are on my list plus a few things that were not and it is time to head for the checkout. The clerk asks, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” and I give a simple answer of “Yes.” What I really want to say is “Yeah, and you should see what I left behind.”

Those things that I left behind will be there when I make my next trip. The really good ones I made a mental note of where they are and their price so between now and then I can argue with myself about how necessary they are.

It was easier going with my dad to the farm supply store because his answer to me was, “No.” That was the last word.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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