Basil or Bust
‘Alert Reader’ Bev saves the day and a Caprese Salad can finally be enjoyed.
Just when you think all is lost, an email comes through that changes the entire course of your life. After reading the recent post about the ‘Great Basil Shortage of 2022’, Alert Reader ‘Bev’ leapt into action and took it upon herself to rectify the horror that was my basil-less Caprese skewers. Single-handedly, Bev dashed to the Dalhousie Safeway and confirmed her suspicions. Racing back to her computer, she furiously typed us an email — hitting send so fast she nearly forgot to add a subject line — reporting to the Dropbear Hotline that yes, there was fresh basil in this location, but it was going fast.
Running from the house, leaping two black squirrels in a single bound, ducking under a low-flying magpie, accidentally tripping on a winter-camouflaged Jack Rabbit, I slid across the hood of the Panda-Mobile (2005 Toyota Matrix) and wrenched the door open. It didn’t open. It was still locked. In slow-motion I whipped out the key fob, hit the unlock button, reached for the door, and then got into the car — at normal speed; adjusting my mirrors, putting on my seatbelt, stabbing the key into the ignition I heard the Panda-Mobile roar to life. Basil or bust!
It’s not every day you get ‘The Call’ but today was that day and I was ready to answer it. I envisioned masses of people, security ropes cordoning off the entrances, large men with truncheons and shields, tear gas wafting in low clouds across the parking lot painted by strobing emergency lights, a lone store manager holding the doors closed against the surging mob, yelling over her shoulder, “Run!!! Save yourselves! I never should have ordered the fresh basil!”
When I arrived there was plenty of parking and nary a tear gas canister or truncheon-wielding goon in sight. I strapped on my “Hello Kitty” face mask, smoothed back my mohawk, and walked calmly into the store. Every fibre of my being said, RUN! RUN FOR THE BASIL! but I played it cool. I didn’t want to be responsible for a basil stampede.
You could smell the basil from the entrance. Nirvana. There was hardly anyone in the store; it was quiet, almost too quiet. The closer I got to the produce aisle the more nervous I got. Would there be any left? Would ninja’s suddenly appear from that pile of out-of-season melons? Carefully I approached.
There, in front of the cooler! Fresh basil! There were exactly four fresh basil bundles left. Looking around to make sure I wasn’t getting punked I grabbed two of the four bunches — I’m no hoarder — and made my way to the checkout. $2.49 each. Fools, I would have paid three times that much!
The adrenaline was still coursing through my veins as I arrived home. My hands, still a little shaky from the adventure, grabbed my aromatic treasure and brought it to my nose; inhaling deeply I looked to the skies, saluted, and said, “Thank you, Bev.” and walked into the house a hero.