Bad news all over the world. War, disease, crime.
I regretted that I picked up USA TODAY and WALL STREET JOURNAL to read as I ate my salad on the second floor on Wegman’s, Cherry Hill. I’d been feeling so happy–a cold fall day, but with plenty of sunshine, lots of beautiful leaves still left on the trees, money in my pocket to buy what I needed plus more. Retirement. (Five stars for retirement.) How could I be so blessed when people everywhere were suffering terribly?
I got into line after I’d picked up crackers and cheese for Thursday’s writing group, free range eggs for an omelette for dinner, kale for my husband and me (although he is not going to eat it, I bet), green tea for me, an apple pie for a friend’s visit, canned salmon for my mom’s all-time favorite sandwich, Thanksgiving cards for loved ones and doggy treats for our puppy, Finn. A cart filled with rich people stuff, I mused.
The little straight-haired girl of Asian descent in the cart in front of me gave me a grin and she reminded me of my daughter, now thirty-one, when she was about two years old. I felt better and better.. Look at my world–I’m a woman who lives in Camden, New Jersey, USA with a pension and all the freedom in the world to enjoy my retirement. I can’t let the bad news tear me down today.
Out I went into the sunshine and cold breezes, satisfied with my purchases. I would write the cards as soon as I got home. How many good friends I have who live far away… Maybe the cards will surprise them–real snail mail. I stopped and looked at the parking lot.
Uh, where did I park? I took a deep breath and remembered. Somewhere in the center, okay. And… The center of the parking lot at Wegman’s is one big place. Okay, okay. Next to a hedge on one of those grassy curbed islands. Great. I pushed the cart happily to a hedge in the center.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few hedges in the center. I sighed and beeped my key thingy. The car beeped, but the sound was faint and the noise of cars blurred the location.
A young man with a jacket saying,”Honor firefighters” walked to me and asked me if I had lost my car. He listened for the beep and he couldn’t even hear it. An airplane roared over the beep. He took my keys and pressed ALARM. Voila. The car sat waiting for me about two rows away.
I stood thinking how he looked like the kind of young guy who would be in a church youth group and before I knew it, he grabbed my cart and maneuvered it over two islands to my car. He waved and ran back to his car. Maybe he worried that he’d have to drive me home, too?
I drove home and put my bags on the table. Finn ran to his leash so we walked where he investigated branches blown down by the wind and this once feral puppy barked at a bunch of sparrows and a pigeon.. Finally, I made a cup of green tea and to complete this healthy green tea break, I finished off the last sticky bun left over from last night’s family dinner.
A fine fall day for me, one unremarkable day for me, but one that many in the world would regard as unattainable… I am blessed.
Marguerite Ferra Camden, New Jersey Cramer Hill !