Fig Garden Update

“So, Panda, do you mind telling me where you’ve been all afternoon?”

I admit I was a little surprised that Foster would even ask that. I hadn’t thought he would notice I was gone.

“Well,” I began calmly, unruffled by this untoward interrogation. “I was at Fig Garden with Mom and Aunt Gail.”

“Seriously?” Foster replied. “Well, I must have been taking a nap or something. So how was it over there?”

“Well,” I replied. “You can actually sit inside Starbucks now, but only four people at a time.” Foster looked amazed. “That’s not very many,” he said. “What if the same four people hog up the whole place all day?” I was ready for that. “No worries,” I assured him. “There’s a time limit that people can stay inside. I think it was like 30 minutes.”

“So did you sit inside?” Foster asked. I shook my head. “No,” I answered. “We went in to get our coffee but Mom and Aunt Gail wanted to sit outside.”

“I saw this cool table out in front of a store,” I continued, “but they said we couldn’t sit there. It was only a display.”

Foster jumped up onto the fireplace. “That’s too bad,” he remarked. “Well, did you go in any of the stores?”

“We did, actually,” I said. “It looked like the shopping carts were still being sterilized between customers.” Foster frowned. “Mom let you get in the cart? What if some of the germs survived?” he asked, to which I replied that, after all, I’m not the one who was raised by Swedes. “Besides,” I continued, “she said pandas are probably immune to human germs, like we are to cat germs.”

Foster was skeptical. “Well,” he said slowly, “I hope she knows what she’s doing. So did you go to Bath and Body and Eddie Bauer?”

“Yes,” I replied. “They were having a sale at Bath and Body, so Mom got us some new soaps for the bathroom. They were having a candle sale, too, but we didn’t get any.”

“Cool,” Foster said approvingly. “I hope you didn’t try on any clothes at Eddie Bauer like you did last time!” I laughed. “No, not this time,” I answered. “Remember, last time Mom wasn’t with me. This time I would have had to ask permission, and she probably would have said no. I stayed outside the dressing room and got the sanitizer ready.”

“Umm, Panda,” Foster began hesitantly, “is it just me or did you take like three different outfits with you today?” I was puzzled. “Huh?” I asked, to which he replied, “Never mind.”

“For a minute I thought I had found some of my long lost relatives,” I continued. “Apparently they have their own bakery, too. But when I looked again I noticed they weren’t pandas.”

“Bummer,” Foster responded. “You should have gotten some cookies from them anyway. Did you see anybody we know while you were there?”

“Not really,” I responded. “But those two nice ladies with the masks were there and when Mom and Aunt Gail weren’t looking, they let me take a selfie with them.”

“All right, Panda,” Foster said, and I thought he sounded a bit impatient. “You stay right here and I am going to tell you who those ladies are. I can’t believe you haven’t figured it out by now!” Taken aback, all I could think of to say was “Huh?”

“Never mind, buddy,” Foster said kindly. “You’re probably tired from being gone all day. Let’s just take a nap.” And so we did.

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