Yesterday, a young mother stood in my line. She had a two year old and a two week old, and she looked harried and tired. She was doing her debit card, and I prompted her. She blinked a little, and said, "Sorry. I'm not thinking clearly..." I said, "You're allowed. You've got two small children. It goes with the territory." She said, "I just told my husband the other day that I wondered when I would get my mind back." I smiled reassuringly. "My mind's coming back. My youngest just turned 21." Made her laugh, and I do think that she needed a laugh.
A very elderly man came in, and he was buying some top of the line dog food. He said, "I take good care of my girl." I asked him what kind of a dog he had, and he said a shih tzu. So I listened while he told me about 'his girl'. He wound up with, "Yes. I lost one of my girls, and that is hard." I said, sympathetically, "I know how hard that is. I had to have my dog put down last spring." And he looked at me and said softly 'that girl was my wife...' and I stood gaping. "I'm sorry," I said. And I asked him if he was doing okay. "It's hard," he repeated. I said, "Do you have family around to ease the pain a little?" and he said, "No." His daughter lives in Baltimore. I looked at him closely. "When did you lose your wife?" I asked. Turns out that he'd just lost her December 5th. "Listen," I said, grabbing for a piece of scratch paper. "Most of the people that I know who are dealing with this sort of thing say that meals are the worst, that sitting down to a table to eat alone is the very worst. You call me, okay? Because we surely would be pleased to have you come to supper some times. It's not good to be all by yourself." And he took that paper. He did not demur. He took that paper and he said, "Thank you." Poor man.
There is a father and a daughter who come in the store all the time. It sounds like they live side by side. The father is very frail, but good natured and funny. His daughter is very nice too, and drives her father around to do his errands. He comes in and he buys bird seed. The daughter bought a 50 pound bag of ice melter. She paid for her purchase as her dad went out the store. "Why don't you just pull up to the curb to load. It's going to be a struggle to wrangle a shopping cart with 90 pounds in it across a slushy parking lot." And so she did. She had her father wait for her, in front of the store, and she got her SUV. The cool thing is, I watched her stand back and let her father load the bag of feed. He staggered a little under the weight of it, and her hands were right there, on his back, and she did not stop him. That touched me. She's an able woman and she could have simply grabbed the bag first, but she didn't. She let her father be the strong man that he always was. I darted out, and grabbed a bag of rock salt off the pile at the door, and I carried that over to the curb and loaded it. The daughter smiled gratefully, and the father said, "Here now...I can get that!" and I assured him that the store expected me to help the customer when I was not busy at the register. I told him that the store hired me because I was strong as a bull, but only too late realized that I was no smarter than a bull. It always makes people laugh, and he did too. And from behind him, his daughter smiled gratefully and said nothing.
I had the baby shower for Brianna, and it was nice, if I do say so myself. Mary came early, and the two of us worked together, and it was a nice time to visit. We met as 12 year olds, and neither one of us could have envisioned the years flying by so quickly. A grandma! While shopping for the things for the shower, I had watched two very elderly women crossing the road in front of my car in the parking lot. One was using a walker and the other one, stooped and walking gingerly herself, had her hand on the other's arm, 'helping' her. They were talking a mile a minute. "That will be Mary and me someday," I thought, and I smiled inside to think of it.