Every Thanksgiving I make this really wonderful dressing from scratch using day-old cornbread and sausage. But in the reality of life, I don’t have time to make it every time I sometimes think a little bit of dressing would be nice for dinner. “Stuffing instead of potatoes!? Gee, dad, you’re the best!” is what my non-existent children would say. But since I don’t have stuffing/dressing/wet bread all that often at non-holiday times, I do what most people would do, I run to the store and grab a box of Stove Top.
Stove Top wasn’t the only thing on my list when I popped over to the grocery last night. I had to get some broccoli and I was about out of eggs and milk as well. The broccoli was easy enough, a fast walk to the right and there was the produce. Then came time to find the Stove Top, that’s when things started to take a turn. I thought since Stove Top was a starch and instant to boot, it would be near the instant potatoes—which was clearly labeled on one of those signs above the aisle.
What I found in that aisle, along with more varieties of rice than I knew existed, was box upon box of instant potatoes that brought back memories of being at my grandmother’s house. Yet, there was no stove top to be found. I looked up at the signs I could see from the aisle and tried to ponder where one might find Stove Top. None of the signs said “dried but soon to be wetted bread here.” I know what you’re wondering. “Why didn’t you ask someone where it was?”
This was late in the afternoon on a Sunday, the store was stocked with a good number of employees, but not as many as there might be during the week. No one was wandering the aisles for me to ask, I’m not one to go gallivanting over to the front desk to say “Hey, I can’t find a box of dried bread and seasoning.” I know the layout of my grocery store well, I actually like going grocery shopping and find it relaxing. I knew that it must be over on the “front half” of the store, as it wouldn’t be past the freezer section and in the household supplies or auto section—for when you need that quart of oil to go with your Sunday roast.
I pushed my cart onward and started to explore where else I thought Stove Top stuffing might be. Canned vegetables? Nope. The bread aisle? Nope. Crackers? Nope. I finally realized that maybe it was to be found in the pasta, perhaps where the Hamburger Helper and all was. But no. It wasn’t there either. I looked through every aisle in the first half of the store and I never could find it. Ten minutes must have passed. Time started to slow down and a young lady playing an accordion on roller skates appeared before me.
A certain tedium kicked in as I pushed my cart along, endlessly searching for an elusive box of Stove Top stuffing. I felt my brain shut down, I felt my body float, I felt a sense otherworldliness as every logical place I would imagine a box of Stove Top stuffing would be proved to be incorrect. I finally had to face the awful truth, this was my new reality. There would be no going back. I had died, been deemed a sin baby, and my forever punishment was to wander this grocery store for all of time, searching for a box of Stove Top stuffing I would never find.
As I began to realize I would never see my loved ones again, I found myself woefully pushing my cart down the baking section. In my despair, I glanced over to look at the flour, which was next to the breadcrumbs, which were beside a huge display of Stove Top stuffing. I don’t know how on earth missed it, but somehow—despite going down this aisle several times before—I never bothered to look to my left and see the giant display of Stove Top.
Time suddenly clicked back into place, I realized I was alive, not dead. With my Stove Top (that was buy one, get one) I went to the check out lane. I bought my groceries, returned home, fixed dinner and settled into my easy chair for the night. Maybe it was my exhaustion, but as I closed my eyes for a nap, I could have sworn I heard the sounds of an accordion playing faintly outside my window. I just hope the good people of Kraft will give me a call so we can make this the new ad campaign for Stove Top. “Stove Top: It’ll Send You Into a Nightmare Wrapped in a Dream!” See you next week.