#1,208 Guest Blog by Ben (farming and shopping).

I’ve spent the entire day giving theories to Mrs. Erin and talking about what a great day we’ve had, so, she said, “You should be a blogger, Mitter Ben!” I hope you’re ready.

We have this farmers’ market in our downtown every summer, which we have been trying to make bigger and better every year. A few weeks ago, Judi emailed some of us about a farmers’ market workshop in Jackson. I said I wanted to go, and after some prodding, my sweet wife agreed to go as well. We had to be at the Mississippi Agricultural Museum by 10:00 this morning. So, bright and early, we drug ourselves out of bed. I put on my Carhartt work pants, which are too nice for me to do real work in. I slipped on my Appalachian Trail t-shirt, a trail which I have never been on. Then we hit the road.

Now, I had to make it worth her while. Once on the road, she said, “I’m hungry, what are we going to eat?” Primo’s is the correct answer.

Primo’s is a cafe and bakery that has been a staple in the Jackson area since the 1920’s. When I was a young lumberjack, my parents would make frequent trips to Jackson and would bring my brothers and me gingerbread men from the bakery. I made my first trip to Primo’s as a young married man a couple years ago. Now, we go every chance we get. Sometimes, I will get a gingerbread man, but today, I went with an omelet and coffee. Erin had 1 pancake with a side of grits. Girl’s crazy about grits.

Next, it was over to the Ag Museum. We parked at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and had to walk across this little wooden bridge into what felt like a mixture of a legit old town and Landrum’s Country and a museum that looks like a bank sitting at the back of the property.

Jookie and the Rev brought us here when we were younger. There used to be a watch and clock repair exhibit in the museum which held some of my uncle Teddy Cothan’s tools. It left the museum about a year ago, though.

The farmers’ market was interesting and educational… But it was a little less market and a little more farmers. None of us in the room were farmers.

At the lunch break, we met a blog reader! Bekah is a friend of Annalee’s and she lives in Starkville. We always like meeting people who read this thing.

After an hour of learning how to make your market look nice and attract more customers, followed by four hours of learning about soil conservation, crop rotation, organic farming, grants for farmers, and foodborne illnesses from homecanned foods (gee thanks, as if we needed anything else to frighten Erin), we cut out early so the missus could do a little shopping before dinner. First, we talked to this donkey:

We went to DSW. I know that you female readers are out there like, “OMG, I could like spend hours in there. Not only has Erin’s husband never hiked the AT, he also takes her shoe shopping.”

And the 2 male readers are like, “OMG, I can’t believe that he is writing about taking her shopping, for shoes of all things. Thanks for creating unrealistic expectations, loser.”

I have this theory about any kind of shopping. Girls, especially my girl, tend to be a little indecisive. I mean, we all are from time to time. So girls take their guys to the mall or wherever, they walk around, they see this shoe store, they step in for just a minute. Four hours later, she’s still trying to decide if these peep-toes look better in a kitten-heel or a wedge, while ole Turbo has been using his ESPN app to catch up on every sport from baseball to bowling.

Today, we spent thirty minutes in DSW and left with three pairs of shoes and a pair of socks. All of which, she loves, and I helped pick out. I’ve learned that women want a second opinion about everything. It makes sense. I bet you wish you’d gotten a second opinion about those madras shorts.

If men would just take the time to learn the difference between a stilleto and a wedge, and listen to what it is she is looking for, you could be in and out of stores so much faster and you’d have more time to do things you enjoy. Ask questions, narrow the search, don’t let her waste time looking at things she isn’t going to buy, and just have a good attitude about it, man. I walk in, I ask what we’re looking for, what color do we want, shiny or matte, high heel, medium heel, wedge, or flat. Then, I start looking. We bought the first pair of shoes I found. While she was trying them on, I noticed some wedges right next to them, “What do you think of those, Erin?” She tries them on, boom, we get them too.

“While we’re here, let’s get some black shoes too,” she says. Trying to pull a fast one on me, but I ain’t having it. We try on three pair. I ask questions like, “Do they pinch?” “Will they rub blisters?” “Could you stand through 6 stanzas of It Is Well With My Soul?”

It becomes a challenge, a game where if I win, I get the girl. So instead of my wife being indifferent towards me for being an uninvolved zombie with an iPhone, she leaves happy because I am helpful. She flirts with me. Everyone wins.

We even had time to hit a couple of clothing stores where I threw down some serious compliments. Erin was looking at a very bright, electric yellow shirt. I liked the navy one next to it. I explained to her that she was special and magical and didn’t need bright colored clothes for people to notice her. And I meant it, is the thing. If you think of something nice to say about someone, you should say it. This should be true for anyone, but especially for your wife.

Next it was dinner with Erin’s parents. Ribeye from Dean’s Smokehouse? Don’t mind if I do.

We got to hang out with Emily and Josh some tonight. We talked Laurel and politics. When we came home, this sweet shirt was on my doorstep:

My granny (obviously a fan of quality outdoor clothing?) bought my dad a Patagonia shirt a long time ago, it got too small and went to my brother, who never wore it and asked if I wanted it. A vintage Patagonia shirt that used to belong to my daddy? Yeah, I want it.

Anyway, it was a great day. We got to do some cool manly farming things, we bought shoes, we ate some good food, and we did it all together. Now, I am going to go scratch my dogs on the ears and get ready for bed. Thanks for reading. Erin will be back tomorrow.