1st Stop: Candace & Jonathan’s…Candace is a single mom raising Jonathan, her junior-high-aged son. They don’t have a car and therefore walk everywhere, even in the snow. She saw me pull up so she came to the door to meet me and said, “I know you’re here to check on us but we already walked to the store!” This is impressive since the JayC store is on the other end of town and the sidewalks are still over ankle-deep in snow. She thanked me for checking in, patted me on the head and sent me on my way. I’m 38 and got patted on the head today. I like my small town.
2nd Stop: The Hanners…George Hanner and his wife are fixtures in our small town. They don’t have a car or any money to get a car. The Hanners are older and not in good health. They live even farther away from the store than Candace does so lots of people in town pick George up when they see him walking to or from JayC. I stop in to check on them when the weather is bad and ask if they need anything. Today, Mrs. Hanner said they sure did need some things. She rattled off a list that I quickly typed into a note on my phone…and I quote…”Get me some of that hamburger in a tube, and two packages of them pork chops they cut in the back of the store and 3 boxes of elbow maccaroni (which she demonstrated by showing me her elbow) and some root beer and milk and make sure the root beer is diet but don’t get the diet milk ’cause we like the fully-leaded stuff.” She then handed me $7.
3rd Stop: Noni’s…Noni is the sweetest 90-year-old woman you’ll ever meet. She is known all over town for her flower garden. I walked up the several steps onto the large porch, knocked on her door and then opened it to poke my head inside. Noni has a huge, two-story house but she got to the door in just a few seconds. I told her I was headed to the store for the Hanners but she said, “I’ve got plenty of bread and miracle whip for sandwiches and that’s good enough for me.” Noni doesn’t eat bread and miracle whip sandwiches because she’s poor. She has money. She just likes bread and miracle whip sandwiches. I asked who shoveled her snow. She said, “My neighbor did the steps before daylight this morning and I did the front walk a little later. I don’t want to make it hard on the mail lady.” Middle aged men are dropping dead all over the country trying to shovel snow while 90-year-old Noni shoveled her walk then retired to her kitchen for a bread and miracle whip sandwich.
4th Stop: JayC Store…I chatted with a sweet woman working in produce, heard a lady several aisles over speaking very unkindly to her daughter, exchanged thoughts with a motherly woman shopping in the dairy section about why all the bags of shredded cheese were on sale so cheap and then checked out. I was loading the Hanners’ groceries into my truck when I saw Menlo Cottengim scraping the snow off his car in the side parking lot. Menlo is a really small, fragile-looking, elderly gentleman who bags groceries. I pulled over to offer a little help with cleaning his car; it’s an old Nova, which plucks at my heart-strings because my first car was an old Nova. Mine was dark green. Menlo’s is dark orange fading into rust. He declined my offer for help saying, “She’s my family and I like to take care of her. On the 20th of this month, she’ll be 37 years young and she still doesn’t use any oil to speak of. We bought her new in ’73. I’m planning to drive her until one of the two of us dies.” Menlo’s car is only one year younger than me and may run better than I do.
I’m not making this stuff up…