After being snow bound for three days in my home from the heavy snow and ice that hit our area, I needed to get out of the house. I really needed to get out of the house. I thought if I didn't, I was going to start climbing the walls. Since I needed to replenish a few groceries, I decided to take a walk to the nearby Walmart.
The weather had turned beautiful. The sun was shining and the snow that was left was glistening from the sun dancing on top of the white fluffy flakes. I enjoyed the beauty for the short time it will stay. “Snow is beautiful”, I thought, “but it sure makes a mess when it melts.” Just as I thought that, a newer green car passed me splasing some of the mess from the puddles onto my clothes. “Serves me right,” I thought, “I should have just said “snow is beautiful and leave it at that.”
The walk was short because Walmart is only three blocks from me. I took my list out of my pocket and scanned over it again. “Milk, bananas and avocados.”
The parking lot was full of cars. “Oh no, this is going to be awful. There is so many people in Walmart right now,” I said aloud to myself.
As soon as I entered the door carts full of groceries with half crazy people came rushing at me. “They're using the ENTER door as an EXIT door,” I thought. I was slightly annoyed about it because they almost hit me. As I moved farther into Walmart I realized that it was packed with people and I was horrified because I don't have much patience.
I moved over to the produce and just as I was putting a bunch of bananas into my basket, I saw an elderly woman barely able to walk, pushing a grocery cart. Along side of her was an elderly man that appeared to be in slightly better shape. I heard him say,
“Darlin, should we get some bananas?” He said sweetly to the elderly woman.
“Yes honey, pick us up a nice big bunch of bananas and make sure they aren't too ripe.”
I moved over to the section where the avocados were and put five into a plastic sack and tied the top of it.
The elderly man and woman moved slowly down the produce isle. “Honey, we need some potatoes.” The elderly man picked up a small bag of potatoes and set them in their basket.
Then it struck me, the love and respect they showed one another and how well they worked together. As she was shuffling down the isle, he had his left hand on her shoulder, as if comforting and guiding her through their grocery shopping. Then I heard her say,
“Get us a bag of carrots and a bag of celery.”
Then I watched as he quickly moved over to the celery and carrots and picked up a bag of each and went back to the elderly woman and placed them in their basket.
I moved away from them quickly to get to the section where the milk was. I grabbed a gallon of 1% milk and placed it in my basket. As soon as I set it down, it occurred to me I needed some canned tomatoes to make chili. I briskly walked to canned goods isle and ran into the elderly man and woman. (Actually, I didn't run into them, they were on that isle).
“Honey, get us two cans each, corn, green beans, and spinich.” The look in her eyes told me she was exhausted and in pain. The elderly man picked up the items two by two and placed them in their basket.
He turned to me and asked, “Would you mind going and getting us a loaf of whole wheat bread?” I said, “Certainly.” He further told me, “My wife has cancer and she wanted to get out of the house so badly and asked if she could come to the store with me, but I'm afraid she has already done more than she should.”
I quickly went to the bread isle and picked up a loaf of whole wheat bread. I placed it in their basket. They both thanked me and left toward the cashiers.
The lines were long at all the cashiers. I noticed the elderly couple in line with several customers in front of them. Directly in front of them was a child sitting in the child's seat of the basket. I overheard the child say,
“You are old.”
The elderly woman and man just smiled. Then the elderly woman said, “Sweetie, it took me a long time to get this way and I am proud of it.”
The child's mother turned around with a look of exasperation on her face, “I am so very sorry. Please forgive my child.”
The old man wrapped his arms around his wife and smiled, “It's quite okay. Don't worry about it.” Both of them looked at one another with such love and tendernesss, I felt tears coming to my eyes.
I walked home from Walmart that day realizing that this was one time that I didn't get upset about Walmart being so crowded. Then I realized, today, I was thinking about someone other than myself.