Shopping Encounter

Old trunk in Ione

IT’S ON MY HEART: Nugget for Life

Photo and story

by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

So yesterday late afternoon, I went to Walmart to pick up a few things. One of them was some linguica I wanted to add to my potato soup. I haven’t bought linguica in a very long time. As I was standing in the cashier line, I noticed a small, elderly woman just ahead of me. She looked to be in her late 80’s. First thing I noticed was her hair. You know the look, the generation that would go every week to get their hair done at a salon – there’s just that special look; my grandma had that same hair. As she turned to put her items on the conveyor belt, I noticed her earrings. They too reminded me of my grandma…that vibrant costume jewelry of the 70’s. As I continued to watch her take her items out of her cart, I began to think about grandma and all the good ‘ole days; days of shopping with grandma and her patience, her mannerisms and how she taught me how to behave (mind) in a store. Grandma never dreaded shopping; of course the shopping experience wasn’t like it is today. I sometimes wonder what she would think about Walmart.

As I wait for my turn, I continue going down memory lane. Many memories flooded the moment and it was sort of a peaceful, relaxed wait in line…until….

The woman in the line next to me says to her cashier, “Yea, I’m buying crack!” She says this SO loud and kept repeating it. She was a loud woman who looked to be in early 40’s. She had her own special look; LOUD. Loud clothes, loud hair, a look that says, “HEY…LOOK AT ME!” She goes on about crack this and crack that….the young guy with her, looked to be her son, was unloading the cart…WITH attitude. The woman continues with her crack story and I’m thinking…”What the heck is she talking about?” Then she says, “Yea, it’s for my cat. This stuff is like crack for cat, right?” Ahh. Apparently she’s talking about cat nip. I’m rolling my eyes (on the inside) thinking, “Good Lord, no class, no tact.”

While this was going on, the guy on the other side of me is so BADLY TRYING to flirt with his cashier. Oh, and I mean badly. For a brief moment I just had to close my eyes, clinch my teeth and shake my head. There goes my tender-hearted, relaxing walk down memory lane of the “good ‘ole days.” Lord, just get me out of here and right quick please!

As the elderly woman unloads her very last item, guess what it was? Yep, linguica, AND the same brand I had just picked up. I had to smile. As I was beginning to unload my cart, I showed her I had the same item. She smiled and said, “Good stuff.”  At that moment, I felt my grandma’s presence around me.  I started to catch that emotional lump in my throat.  I wonder if grandma was watching me from heaven shop today.

As the elderly woman left with her purchases, it was now my turn and I couldn’t help but think about those people around me and THEIR shopping experiences, the memories they are creating for their children and the difference from when I was a kid to now.  The experiences, etiquette or lack of and memories that they are going to be passing along to their kids and so on. What a shame. It makes you think about all things that will no longer be in existence because the passing of the etiquette torch as it were, has started to die off.  Isn’t that just sad. The world has become such a different place. I feel as if my heart is mourning for  the shopping experiences that once were.  What would grandma think?

Enjoy your Sunday. Make good memories.