March 12, 2022

Since the snow was predicted to come again yesterday, I decided it was a good time to go to the store.  Typically, I did not get off early and it had started snowing before I left.  This was not the emergency shopping that drives people to the store with impending snow.  I needed a squeaky toy and a harness for Eddie as he had chewed through both, and his people were on their way to pick him up.  I found it interesting that my next-door neighbor got into his truck as I was going to mine.  I followed him down the road and then saw him pull into the same store lot.  I parked and then got out in time to notice him walking ten feet in front of me.  As we both took carts I commented, “Nice day to go shopping, huh?”  He laughed and agreed.

One of the items I was looking for at the store was an Easter cactus.  Melissa had seen them advertised online by the corporate website and hoped our store would have them.  She already has the Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti I wrote about earlier and wanted to complete the holiday cactus set.  It was snowing heavily when I went out to the garden center.  The racks of flowers had been wheeled inside and most of the exposed plants outside had been covered with plastic.  I checked under several sheets and only found flowers.  When I asked the attendant (yes, I asked) about the Easter cactus, he checked his phone and politely told me they did not have any in stock.  I went back inside and completed my shopping list.

After getting the items I needed (and several others), I made my way to the self-check lanes.  This store is different than others as you cannot put your card in the reader until you finish ringing up your purchases.  I know this, as several times I have put my card in too soon and paid for one item.  When I reached for my card to pay it was not in my pocket.  I told the attendant I needed to get my card from the car, and she said she would hold the line.  My card was not in the car.  I asked if I could call my wife for the number, and although that was not possible, she said she would hold my order until I got back.  As I walked outside, she told me to “drive safe”, as the snow was getting thick.  I walked to my car and as I got in a man was standing outside my window.  I hesitated but rolled down the window.  He said he heard me say I needed to go get my card and offered to pay for my purchases, and I could mail him a check.  I thanked him, but politely declined.  I went home, got my card, and returned to the store to buy my items.

THOUGHTS:  When I got home from the store, I thought about my encounters.  I have been boosted and always wear a mask when I go to the store.  None of the people I spoke with had worn a mask and only 65% of the eligible people in our state have been vaccinated.  Despite the probability of our differences, they had treated my kindly and been concerned about me driving in the snow.  Later that night Melissa and I watched Rocky IV which came out toward the end of the Cold War in 1985.  After improbably winning over the crowd and winning the fight, Rocky says, “If I can change . . . and if you can change . . . maybe we can all change.”  While this may not be on par with de Tocqueville, the thought and my encounters give me hope.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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