During my summer vacation, which sounds more like a three month holiday away from school rather than a few days out of town, we decided to a make stop. Truth be told, we made several along the way to New Orleans, because one of the more awesome traits I inherited from my mother (that did not include her looks, her unblemished skin, her fine features nor her athletic ability) was her bladder, which is exactly the size of a walnut.
We see the sign on the way to Houston for a place called Buc-ee’s. Now I’ve never heard of this place and all I see is a gigantic, happy squirrel head on a sign accompanied by some bad puns. Oh sure, it’s a beaver to the rest of you, but my brain wouldn’t let the whole squirrel thing go and try as I might to get it right, it stuck in my head that we were going to Squirrely’s. April assumed I had to be familiar with Squirrely’s since it was a Texas thing. It may be a Texas thing, but it’s never been on my Texas radar. You see my car only drives two ways – one is on IH35 north of Austin, the other is northeast to Nacogdoches. Now before you think I’m a complete big box convenience store newbie, I had actually heard of and even been to both Love’s and Stuckey’s. I’ve even been to Robertson’s in Salado on a number of occasions, but never a Squirrely’s. Never heard of it. So, it’s basically not my Texas, it’s someone else’s Texas.
We pull up and Squirrely’s is just huge. I’ve never seen a Stuckey’s or a Love’s quite so large – it might compare to a mini Wal-mart (there is actually such a thing). We go in and like the Tardis, it’s bigger on the inside and offers an assortment of everything. It’s the kind of store where you become a little concerned you’ve stepped into a Grimm’s fairy tale and feel the need to worry that if you grab too much of whatever some cantankerous, hoarder hermitess (I cannot believe that word made it through spell check – who knew it was real) will grab you up then pop you into a special people cooking oven. My only comfort was the knowledge that I would avoid the oven, because well I’d like to see a hermitess try – I border on ”immovable object” – a good thing when facing down fairy tale cannibals. Solid planning on my part! In the store is a wall of candy (you see the analogy here, right?), fresh fruits, snacks that involve cheese (ok, that’s my love of cheese shining through), sodas with special crunchy ice, computer stations to order fast food (I guess you can’t just walk up to a person an order), clothes, knick-knacks, do-dads, toys and 100 super clean bathrooms.
I took pictures and I walked out with a Squirrely puppet. Of course I did. I decided this little squirrel would have be included in the vacation. Being mid puppet show, it was obvious that this pairing of girl and squirrel were meant to be. A friend of mine sent me a text post purchase, after I shared a photo of the Squirelly and me, basically asking, “how is it you’re more ridiculous than I am?” Oh young Jedi, it takes focus and dedication – years of being a ridiculous human, but I’m straying off topic.
I start posting these ridiculous photos with this ridiculous squirrel (yeah, yeah, yeah beaver) and I discover there’s this whole crazy convenience store cult lurking among my Facebook friends that simply adore Buc-ee’s. PIcture the martians in Toy Story and “the claw”. You could hear them all say the words in unison, “the Buc-ee’s” or 100 Homers saying “donuts”. You get the idea. It was a bit eerie. I was genuinely blown away by the envy pouring my way. Some were excited for me – hooray, she’s finally arrived at this consumer’s paradise. It was as if I had been transported to whatever place you find to be the most magical and it made my friend’s happy. Mine involves ornate outfits – the bigger the skirt the better, a gigantic library, and a lovely stroll-worthy garden. Oh, and access to all of our modern conveniences, because let’s face it if we go back in time people were rather stinky with bad teeth. Plus, in this fantasy world I have pets and pets need good vets and also I’d like a recycling program in place – very important. Oh, and cheese. Did I mention I’m a huge fan? Right, that’s my place – theirs was Buc-ee’s. You would have thought, based on the ecstasy that followed the announcement that I’d been to the store and as the doors swished open angels began to sing. It was crazy.
Now, I don’t mean to put down Buc-ee’s. It’s a great place to stop. It’s clean, the bathrooms are great, the ice is cheap, there are a ton of gas pumps, but it is a convenience store – a very large convenience store.
I do admit that on the way back home we did made another stop there (my request), because I just had to. I drank that Kool-aid. When we did stop in again, a person dressed as Buc-ee (a happy gigantic squirrel if you’re me) was strolling the store. You could have your picture taken with him. I did do this. It was hysterical. You will never see that photo, but know that Buc-ee hugged me.
I guess a small part of me has been inducted into the cult. Please don’t tell them I still think it’s just a large convenience store until I’ve studied their inner circle. They don’t need to know that I don’t believe as some do that it might be the place where Greek heroes go after they die. (There are still Greek heroes, right? Zeus still catting around. I digress. I always digress.)
That’s my report.