Title: The Padalecki Family Shopping Trip
After everyone was dressed, Jared turned off the coffeemaker and the family took two vehicles to town. He informed Jensen that as much as they were buying, it would be needed.
Breakfast was an experience for Jensen. Everyone talked at once. From what he could tell, all three Padalecki men ate massive amounts of food. He almost grimaced at the thought. He sat between Jared and Sherri and listened. Once the food was brought, the conversation slowed down to normal. Sherri heard a soft sigh escape his lips and smiled. The topic had been basketball.
Jared’s mom watched her son’s boyfriend with enjoyment. He might not be able to use his eyes, but he had his own way of seeing things. She found it fascinating and let him be his quiet self.
As they finished the meal, Jared explained how he and Jensen shopped. The family agreed that it made sense.
Jared pulled out of the Denny’s parking lot and headed towards the outskirts of town and the local farmer’s market. They picked out an empty table and dispersed, each with a list and a suggestion from Sherri to add whatever else looked good.
“Jared, why don’t Jensen and I look for the items on my list and you head off with Jeff?” she asked.
“That’s fine with me, Mom, if it’s all right with Jen?”
The young professor was silent for a moment, a sense of panic running through him. He never went to these places without Jared and wasn’t sure how he felt about doing this with the woman standing next to him.
Being Jensen, he was honest. “I can’t even see so why you want to shop with me?”
“Jen,” Jared spoke softly.
“It’s all right, Jared. Jensen is insecure. and I understand what he is feeling. Jensen,” Sherri, spoke his name, placing her and on his arm. “You are a part of this family due to your relationship with my son, and I want, no….I need to know who you are. As for you not seeing? I think you probably see better than any of us.”
Jared looked at the love of is life and watched him turn from being very pale to a bright red. He leaned in and gently kissed him. Jensen reached out and hugged him. The artist took a deep breath and turned to the coach’s mom.
“I would like that.”
The next hour was spent by the family going through every inch of the market. The table slowly filled with items on the lists and a large number of other things.
Jensen and Sherri slowly walked through the market. Jared’s mom explained what everything was. Jensen learned how the plants were grown and the men and women that raised them tended them. She discussed soil treatment, pruning, when to plant and how to know something was ripe. She wasn’t sure the man was even listening at first until he suddenly asked a question. Smiling, the woman answered.
The two added four dozen yard eggs, three large jars of local honey, several types of fall squash, and they stopped at the smell of fresh bread. Sherri led Jensen to a large booth. The two women who ran the stall sold fresh bread. There had to be at least fifteen kinds. They picked up about five loaves of each kind. Bread could be frozen.
After an hour, the family gathered at their table with a market employee and everything was priced and a total given to Jared who paid with his bank card. It took about ten minutes to load everything into the back of the van.
The meat market was next. It was a large one and the family divided into the same teams with carts this time. The meat market had a number of employees and three butchers. They were even licensed to sell wild game.
Jared and Jeff picked up the items on their list and walked over to the wild game department. The brothers added bison, elk, venison, goose, duck, and quail.
The family checked out, and the meat was added to the van. Jared drove towards the super HEB.
The store was massive. Jensen and Sherri decided to walk the aisles as they picked up the items on their list. HEB had coffee beans for different coffees that were blended to represent different areas of Texas. They bought two of each blend and ground the beans. They also picked up two large cans of Jared’s staple blend. Several large cans of different flavored hot chocolate and a number of different tea blends were added. Sherri added two gallons of apple cider.
Going to the canned goods area, they added tomato products and canned vegetables that could not be purchased at the Farmers market. Jensen and Gus pushed a buggy right behind Sherri. She went slowly so he could tell how she was guiding hers.
The family met at the registers. An employee was standing there guiding customers to the registers that had the fewest people in line. They had six full buggies. One of the staff members called up three baggers. Jared tipped the employee who found them a register, the cashier, and the baggers. The family helped the baggers take out the food. It was placed in the back of Jared’s truck.
They pulled into Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Jared ordered three family meals. They headed out of town towards home. It took over an hour for the food to be put up. Much of the meat had to be divided, packaged, and put into the deep freeze. The fresh vegetables were prepared for the freezer.
After everything was put away, they went into the breakfast room with a large pitcher of iced tea and the chicken.
The family spent the afternoon playing board games. Sherri sat in one of the recliners, crocheting. Jensen stretched out on the couch and ran his fingers through his boyfriend’s hair as the three Padalecki siblings played Monopoly. Gerald read a book he had brought with him.
At four, Sherri rose and went to the kitchen. She scrubbed and diced potatoes and put them into a pot of water and took out two large bags of frozen peas and set them on the counter top. Getting out a large 13”x9” glass dish, she mixed up the meatloaf and placed it into the large pan and into the oven.
Walking back into the family room, she took up her crochet and listened to her children bicker over property. Every so often she checked on her food. Sherri added the glaze to the meatloaf and drained the potatoes. Adding a stick of butter, salt, pepper, and milk to the vegetable, she got out the mixer and whipped the potatoes. Sherri added sour cream, real bacon bits, a Mexican 4 cheese blend that was shredded, and fresh chives. Placing the potatoes in a large bowl, she put the peas on to cook and made a white sauce for them.
Jensen entered the kitchen, sniffing appreciatively. He stood there for a moment, then asked, “Is there something I can do? Set the table or something?”
“Yes, Sweetie,” Sherri replied, telling him what was needed. The artist moved around the kitchen getting napkins, silverware, plates, glasses, iced tea, salt, and pepper.
Sherri took the rolls out of the other oven, looked over at the young man and saw him reaching into the refrigerator for the butter. Soon the creamed peas, mashed potatoes, meat loaf, and rolls were on the table and Jensen went and called the family.
The conversation flowed around the table, but Jensen remained his usual quiet self. He listened, smiled when appropriate, and savored every bite of the meal he had requested.
Jared looked surprised when his boyfriend asked for a third helping of the meat. Sherri grinned, pleased that he liked it.
The artist blushed but only murmured that he’d never eaten anything this good. The family seemed pleased.
After dinner, the three siblings cleaned up. Jensen joined Jared’s parents in the family room and answered more questions. He was beginning to understand that the Padaleckis weren’t being rude. They really wanted to know him.
“Jensen, Jared told us you won an award for your first piece of art? May we see it?” the older man asked.
“The museum purchased it,” the professor replied.
“Really?” Sherri was surprised. “I had no idea you were that good. I wish we could see your work.”
Jensen rose and headed towards the formal dining room, saying,“We have one I recently finished. I gave it to Jared.” The two Padaleckis rose and followed the younger man.
When they entered the dining room and stood in front of the piece of art, silence fell on the three in the room.
“Oh,” Sherri exclaimed. “Jensen, why are you not doing this full time? Why teach school? This is magnificent!”
Gerald walked out of the room and called his children. Jensen had to stand there and listen to the family exclaim over his piece of art. His face was so red it worried Jared for a moment.
“I like teaching,” he finally answered the question the older woman had asked him. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t think I’m that good.”
Sherri walked over to the young man and pulled him into a hug, and she did not let go. “Jensen, whoever raised you to believe you are incapable of magical things should be shot. This is art, son. Art. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not blessed with an incredible talent. Teach if you want to but never stop showing the world what you see.”
Jared heard the man he loved sob, and Jensen cried on the shoulder of the coach’s mother.