The Hy-Vee Deli Counter

Late last year our friends Billy and Melissa dropped off Christmas gifts for Ashley and I. Billy had designed a t-shirt and gave me the shirt as a Christmas gift.

I have included the photo of this shirt because it’s vital to the rest of the story.

As you can see, the t-shirt design is a bit of a satire on patriotism. “American Cheese Because I’m a Patriot.” I’ve enjoyed the t-shirt but have never felt like the timing was right to wear it. I had to wait to unveil this creative gift.

So for whatever reason, call it the warm spring breeze, a renewed zest for life, or the planets coming into alignment, but today was the day I decided to wear the shirt. And it turns out it couldn’t have been any better of a day.

Tonight Ashley and I headed to Hy-Vee to pick up some groceries for the week. We had to get some lunch meat so we stopped by the deli counter. Behind the counter was a late 20’s, early 30’s, balding man. He was thin, wore thin circular, black rimmed glasses and was all business. He had a very, very dry but friendly personality.

So after ordering some meats I asked for a stack of Pepper-jack cheese. He weighed it, put it in a bag, placed the sales sticker on it and sealed it up.

He then asks me, with no emotion, no smile, no hint of sarcasm, all business …

“Do you need any American cheese?”

Now keep in mind I have totally forgotten I’m wearing my American cheese t-shirt. So I reply,

“We have some at home I think, thanks though…”

And he immediately fires back, again with no emotion,


It took me a second and then Ashley and I laughed around Hy-Vee for the rest of the evening. To the unnamed Hy-Vee employee behind the deli counter, that my friend was brilliant. Excellent planning, excellent delivery. And to Billy, thank you again for the t-shirt. They may take away our freedoms but they can never take our cheese.

3 thoughts on “The Hy-Vee Deli Counter

  1. You don’t know how happy this story makes me. Way to go balding glasses man. Way to go. Not that is matters but here is a link to the poem that goes with the shirt.Good times.

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