Joan Armatrading’s latest CD is This Charming Life. I lead a different sort of life, one that included not one but two trips to the Richmond airport on Saturday to try to get my daughter on a plane to Chicago. A quick look around at what passes for a visitors center in the airport lobby stoked in me a burning desire to see the Richmond visitor center that’s in the Bass Pro Shop just off I-95 below Ashland. I told you my life was exciting.

I pity the poor visitors who wonder how lost they are once off the highway because the area there is drab and desolate until you get to the overly grand paved entrance to Winding Way Brook or Winding Brook Way or more to the point, Winding Highway with no Brook Way–then it’s just depressing. The long and winding road it is, to somebody’s heart, somebody who LUVS hunting N fishing and t-shirts that say things like “I kill cats and eat ’em!” and “Burnin’ gas and catchin’ bass–it’s what I do.” 

Walking into the enormous, two-story store it was impossible to keep my attention focused on the task at hand–seeing what the visitor center there looks like. Not when people are shooting rifles at bears and fish are swimming in a large aquarium and sofas with bucks on the cushions are begging to be bought and workers are trying to entice me to stay in a Bass Pro resort in Orlando. And all that was before I saw the wall of  NASCAR merchandise. Ah, the great outdoors.  I walked right by the “visitors center” because it wasn’t the least bit noticeable amongst all the eye candy–and is really just a person behind a non-descript counter.

I’d have to say my favorite part of the whole visit was wandering through the clothing section and coming upon this sweet, little vignette in the t-shirt aisle:

tough girl

Yes, that’s a rifle and yes, she was pointing it at tall customers.  Bet they don’t have much shoplifting here. At least Bass Pro Shop has enough sense to post a sign at its front door that insists that those carrying firearms or bows check them at the door. I was outraged, of course. Why are only mannequins allowed guns in the store? What about the real people with itchy trigger fingers? An affront to the constitution. Sure the gun rights folks will get right on it.  People with guns are allowed in churches and bars in Virginia, but not here?

How interesting that the people who sell guns and ammo have enough sense to not want their customers walking around with loaded guns etc. in a place of business. Too many targets in here. Those couch cushions with the deer on them would be all shot up.

Of course he is pointing it at his sister.

Had I known how photogenic the contents of the store were going to be, I would have brought my camera–and probably had it confiscated. These cell phone pics don’t do the place justice.