Happy Camouflage, Everybody!

By , September 6, 2009

Our life on the homestead is self-sufficient enough that we often limit our trips to town to once a week. The weekly visits are mostly to deliver Aly to a workshop, a rare chance to augment her homeschooling with some peer contact. Also, it helps to pick up the mail, since local mailboxes are small, and clog up quickly, especially during catalog season. To maximize the trip, we try to have a shopping list, if necessary, or at least a plan for other errands to attend to while the class is in session.

Our local towns are quite small, and we see few changes from week to week, but on a trip about this time last autumn, I noticed a big change at one of the local stores. It almost qualifies as a mini mall, as it’s a long, narrow building divided into departments that almost make separate stores: groceries, sporting goods, and two sections of clothing.

On that trip to town we went in to stock up on game bags and a few other things we hoped to need for the upcoming moose hunt, which would be my first. Entering the store, we noticed a dramatic change in its appearance.

I remember fondly the electric rush of excitement I felt as a kid when, upon entering a store, I suddenly discovered that the Powers of Marketing had decided it was time to start displaying Halloween products, or, later in the year, Christmas products. I’m old enough that my first memories of this came from within a month of the holiday being offered—before Halloween masks started appearing on shelves in early September, or Hallmark presented its new line of Christmas ornaments in August! The arrival of holiday merchandise in those days was actually a harbinger, albeit early, of the coming festival.

I unexpectedly felt excitement similar to that when stepping in the door of the store that week. The sporting goods section foyer held a huge rack of camouflage clothing. Fishing rods and other supplies had been hustled out of the aisle ways, and hunting products stood in their place. Even the plastic grocery bags were camouflage! There was a festive bustle to the place that had been absent the week before. It was infectious—I could hardly resist buying something—anything—camouflage. Instead, I settled on fingering the fabric of the camo clothing, and carrying out my purchases in a camo grocery sack. I was careful not to set it on the ground on the way home. If I did, how could I find it to pick it up again?

Camouflage supposedly does make sense. It does serve to break up one’s silhouette, making pattern recognition more difficult for those from which you’re hiding. But it’s rather amusing how manufacturers go overboard. Camo duct tape is my personal favorite.

Even so, I left the store shaking my head, wondering where I should go to get camouflage greeting cards to send to friends and relatives. ‘Tis the season after all.

Happy Camouflage, everybody!

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