Death to the Adverbs at the Grocery Store

Today’s Prompt for Writing 101: Go to a local café, park, or public place and write a piece inspired by something you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

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This morning was my grocery shopping trip for the month. The prices of foods and other products have gotten ridiculous. Some of the items I often buy have risen in cost by 50%. Now, that’s killing me.

When I go to the grocery store I am not looking for anything to inspire me (sorry WP University).

I go to the grocery store to do my “hunting and gathering thang.” My mind and eyes are focused on the items that are on my list and on finding the best “deal” possible (which may or may not include the cheaper brands).

Grocery shopping has become much harder over the years. One thing I notice more and more now regarding shopping for groceries is that prices for the products are ambiguous. They don’t make it easy to read what the prices of the products are. Because of that, you have to be on your toes when you are checking out to make sure the products you are purchasing are indeed the prices you thought they were.

When I have finished my hunting and gathering and then gallup to the check out stands, this is when I feel like the cashier and I are face to face in a shoot-out and I have to focus on the task at hand. My right hand hoovers over my price pistol in my pocket along with my insistence that they help me bag my groceries and place them inside the basket.

Many times (literally) I have had to stop cashiers in the middle of their work because the price was not what I thought it was or the price in the computer system wasn’t changed to the “on sale” price. This is very irritating.

Some grocery stores (Walmart, to be exact), do not want you watching the prices going into the register. Instead, they are insisting that you sack the groceries and put them in your basket as they are doing the scanning. My answer to this is, “NO. I am going to watch the prices going into the register and the cashier IS going to help me bag the groceries and then help put them in my basket. Those checkers do not want to help you with bagging and placing the bags into the basket, insist they do it anyway.


 

Writing 101 – Day 10 – Happy: Comfort Foods

Yes,” I tell her, “I know, you are tired of hearing stories about my grandmother,” I say, warming my hands on the hot cup of Breakfast Blend. Taking a sip of the hot brew, I add, “But you have to understand those are my happiest memories of my childhood.”


“No,” she teased, “I’m not tired of hearing about your grandmother. I know you were close to her. So talk about her if you want.” She sat her coffee cup on the table and looked at me with her sparkling green eyes filled with laughter.


“My grandmother kept a chamber pot underneath her bed. I laugh every time I think about it. After all, her bathroom was only about 20 feet away from her bedroom. When I see a porcelain pot now, it reminds me of her chamber pot.”


She started laughing, “Why are we talking about chamber pots? I thought we were talking about comfort foods.”


“Well, it’s hard to think about my grandmother and not remember her chamber pot! Do you want to hear my story or not?”


“Is it going to make me puke?”

“Of course not! She told me she had been raised in the country and way before there was indoor plumbing. People had to go outside to the outhouse. At night they used their chamber pots instead of having to go outside. I guess it’s a habit she couldn’t break.”


“Can we please get back to comfort food?”


We both took sips of our coffee, now cool enough to drink. She stared at me with her questioning green eyes.


“Every night before bedtime she would ask me, “What do you want for breakfast? My answer was the same every single time, “Biscuits and gravy.” I loved her biscuits and gravy. Her biscuits were nice and fluffy and her gravy was creamy and delicious. I am hungry for them now just thinking about them.”


“And,” I continued, “We didn’t know about fancy food dishes back then. She was raised on a farm in Texas and only knew how to cook country foods. In those days people didn’t worry about food (calories, gluten, etc.) the way people do now. And, we didn’t sit all day glued to a television or computer, stuffing ourselves with Cheetos and cokes. We played outside from sun-up to sun-down, playing “kick the can” and other childish games.”


“We didn’t either,” my friend added, “We ate what mom cooked for the evening and if we didn’t like it, then we didn’t eat. At least your grandmother cooked food you wanted. And, we also had to play outside all day. Mom would always shoo us out of the house.”


Noticing that her cup was empty, I poured more Breakfast Blend in her cup and topped my cup.


“My mom always made meals that my dad asked her make before he left for work.” I explained. “We either ate it or starved that night. Some things I had to choke down holding my nose, like liver and onions.” I pretended to stick my finger down my throat and retch.


We both take a “quiet” break and concentrated on drinking our coffee.


Sometimes silence says more than words. It gives our brains a chance to pause and grasp meaning and life-altering truths . Often, those truths are just beyond our grasp, hidden among the noise and chaos of the world.


After a moment of silence, I finish my story.


“She always had a treat for us and that special treat was always the same. Every single time. It was a bottle of Dr. Pepper with a hole in the cap, made with an ice pick. She would take the cap off the bottle and pour in a package of salted peanuts and put the cap back on. After we finished the soda, we would take of the caps and eat the delicious, Dr. Pepper flavored peanuts.”


“On the rare occasions I do have biscuits and gravy now, it’s just not the same, and will never be the same. It doesn’t have her special ingredient.”


“What ingredient is that?” my friend asks.


I sigh, and softly say,


“My grandmother.”

 

My Day of Baking Bread

My friend came over today to teach me how to make bread. I have made rolls before but never loaves of bread.

After 8 cups of flour, 3 1/2 cups of water, salt, yeast, sugar, and butter we both had sticky bread dough up to our elbows.

After her bossy instructions of telling me I was kneading the dough wrong and showing me over and over again how to knead the dough, or that I needed to add more flour, or that I needed to add more water, or whatever it was I was doing wrong, I felt like taking that big lump of dough and putting an end to our friendship. But, I didn't, I just took the lumps along with the “instructions” and came out with two loaves of “fairly” beautiful bread.

I think I will continue buying my bread at the grocery store.