Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

I do not grocery shop with my wife.  I will not use a shopping list she’s prepared.

Abuncha years ago, I suggested so delicately that Brenda not wait until she gets home from work to think about supper.  Being AR with a capital AR, I asked her one morning if I could do anything to help plan for supper.  She, without hesitation, said. “You can do the whole thing.”  “Thing” may have had an adjective. I said, “I”ll do it.”  She replied, “Really!!??  If you’ll cook the daily meals, I’ll do the shopping.”  NOPE.  If I’m cooking, I’m buying.

Thus I shop.  I cherish Brenda, but I don’t want her going with me to the store.  First, she doesn’t know how to make out a list.  She looks at recipes and jots them down as she reads them, then on to the next recipe, until she has a paper full of items to buy.  That’s not how it should be done. Produce goes first, canned items in there soon.  Coffee and baking items probably in the middle of the first column somewhere.  The last column is for dairy and deli, ending with frozen goods.  (You have to double back to get frozen goods last, because they could thaw in the 12 seconds you’re wandering around the bakery.)  I write my list in the order of the store.  Brenda is like a random heat-seeking missile.   She picks her target and hunts until she finds it, then she focuses on the next issue.  She walks 42 miles in one shopping trip.

The real difference in our shopping is in attitude.  She sees the grocery as a place where you buy food.  How shallow!  Going to the grocery is like all adventures – it’s relationship building.  (Brenda questions my use of the term adventure when going to the grocery, and vows she needs to get me out more, but with supervision.)  Last week, I came home with frozen lobster tails that had been on sale.  They were beautiful.  When asked how I found them, I simply shared that I looked in another guy’s cart when he walked by and saw the lobster.  “Excuse, but where did you find those?”  “They have them thawed behind the seafood counter,” he replied, “but if you ask, they’ll give you frozen ones to have later.”  Brenda said I was rude looking into his cart.  I said, “Did you like the lobsters?”  

She recently came home without a particular fresh herb she wanted.  “They didn’t have it,” she said.  I shook my head.  “Did you ask Janet or David to see if they had it in the back?”  “No!  Why would I do that?”  “Because you wanted to buy it?”  But, I wouldn’t have had to ask. They know me and would have offered to check for me.

I come back with sports scores, recipes, the phone number of someone who will trim trees, and a score of other items. I couldn’t have done that when I was younger.        

Several months ago, I had an accident and hurt my knee.  On my next visit to the store, I commandeered one of the motorized buggies and drove down aisles asking the clerks I knew if they wanted a ride.   Boomers, we may be aging a bit, but we don’t have to be boring.

Date of Blog Story: 
June 8, 2009

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