Tag Archives: Shopping

Courage at Twilight: Grocery Shopping, A Sequel

I feel so anxious in the grocery store with Mom and Dad.  In the produce section, I assess the fruits and vegetables with one eye even as I monitor Dad’s quickly waning strength with the other, tense and ready to catch him if he slumps.  While Dad waits exhausted and uncomfortable at a deli table, I rush from aisle to aisle scratching items off the shopping list.  I cannot suggest he stay home, and should not.  This is his life, and he enjoys grocery shopping.  If he wants to come with me, he should come.  It is healthy for him to get out of the house, to see the abundant beautiful produce, to get excited about beer-battered cod and grilled bratwurst and baking salmon on Sunday.  But he pays a steep price over and above the grocery bill.  “I’m done, Rog,” he whispered as we stood in the check-out lane.  “I hope I can make it to the car.”  Back at home, I carry eight plastic shopping bags in each hand, thanks to the handles Connor made on his 3D printer.  Mom and I put the groceries away, and stuff the plastic grocery sacks into a larger bag to be recycled.  Wiped out and grateful, they sink into their recliners with their books and newspapers—or the TV remote—and their snacks and drinks.  This is a perfect time for me again to urge Dad, captive to fatigue and comfort, to hydrate.

 

(Grocery bag carriers printed by my son-in-law, Connor.)

Courage at Twilight: Handicapped Parking

What a blessing is the handicapped placard hanging from the rearview mirror of the faithful Suburban.  I tend to quick judgment when I see someone my age and looking just as healthy occupying a handicapped parking stall.  But I try to turn that emotion into gratitude that I can park close to the store for Mom and Dad.  With me driving, they scan the parking lot for the nearest best blue-signed pole.  On our first grocery store outing, I pulled neatly into the stall, the passenger tires perfectly parallel and close to the cart-return curb.  But the car was so close to the curb that Dad couldn’t get out and nearly fell.  So now I look for the van accessible stall and turn wide into it, the driver tires in the hatched lines, with plenty of room for Dad and his shopping cart to maneuver.  The three of us form a slow-moving line crossing the drive lane into the store, me in the front waving thanks to the patient cars, and Mom and Dad following—a kind of gaggle in reverse, with the gosling in the lead.

 

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Courage at Twilight: Grocery Shopping

In the grocery store, Mom followed her prepared shopping list—penciled on a yellow legal pad—items grouped by type and store location, and if it’s not on the list she doesn’t need it, because if she needed it, it would be on the list.  Dad, listless, followed the whims of his heart and his hunger: Jarlsberg, Swiss, and Gouda, cauliflower and broccoli, fresh salmon and parmesan chicken, frozen pizzas, bags of roasted nuts.  Any why not be whimsical with foods that look beautiful and sound delicious and that one is sure to relish?  Why not enjoy both the shopping and the eating experiences?  Neither approach is inherently correct, of course; both are equally acceptable, and complementary.  Mom and Dad each pushed a sanitized dual-purpose shopping cart, for filling with food, and for leaning upon.  While Dad meandered among the fresh produce and artisan cheese, Mom and I walked to the dairy cooler via the cold cereal aisle.  A pretty middle-aged woman walking by surprised me with a generous smile.  Her sleeveless summer dress exposed significant portions of her enhanced bosom.  She passed us twice more, and each time that smile.  After the third pass, Mom hissed at me, scandalized, “That woman is flirting with you.  It’s so obvious!  And her boobs are practically falling out of her dress!”  Mom’s observations filled me with a sudden and unexpected panic, and I was in junior high again, awkward, anxious, and utterly unable to flirt.  She’s flirting with me? I thought, stupefied.  Why?  I could not understand it.  And I could not respond.  Even had I been interested, my flashback to adolescent anxiety left me perspiring and paralyzed.  Which is just as well—now is not the time or the season.  The parking lot sloped away from the grocery store, and Mom and Dad pulled back on the reins, as it were, to keep the colts from bolting.  I drove silently home, disturbed at the stirring sensations I have worked so hard to suppress.  I focused on seeing how many shopping bags I could carry into the house in one trip, and helped my providentially protective mother put the groceries away in their various nooks and crannies on the pantry.