The local grocery store is a gathering spot for our small community, a meeting place of sorts. Today I counted four groups of people stopped in the aisles, carts side by side, comparing experiences of the snow storm that dumped 13 inches of white powdery snow on our community this week. Old and young were out to replenish food supplies that were depleted during the week of school, business and road closures. It was most likely their first venture out now that the streets were safe to drive again.
Two elderly women, dressed in rubber boots and heavy coats with bright blue flannel scarves, were standing at the front entrance when I arrived, and still there 30 minutes later when I left. The slump of their shoulders and the sad and somber looks on their wrinkled faces spoke of some recent tragedy.
In one aisle, a mother was trying unsuccessfully to quiet her young crying baby, while the father hurriedly gathered canned vegetables and tossed them in the already chock-full cart. Their young daughter glanced around, head down and eyes darting to either end of the aisle as if she were embarrassed her baby brother was behaving so badly.
A brilliant rack of ruby red valentine decorations and heart shaped boxes of chocolate covered candy filled one aisle making sure everyone knew it was time to get ready for the next holiday. Three teenaged girls were reading the valentine cards, laughing loudly, making smooching sounds, and poking each other in the side.
Even though the harried check-out clerks were busy, they had a smile and a sincere word of salutation for each customer. I stood in line behind a young boy who simply couldn’t stand still. His mother carried a cake with “Happy Birthday” written on it. She raised her eyebrows and laughed, “Grant has ants in his pants.” Grant said, “I’m six, I’m six!” as he hopped forward like a kangaroo when the line moved.
As I left with my purchases I was surprised to see bouquets of golden daffodils and flats of purple, yellow, and white pansies displayed to the side of the entrance. They did look cheery, but with snow still in my flowerbeds, I wasn’t quite ready for spring yet.