Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, December 24, 2014, 12:47 p.m.
About two weeks ago, the proprietor of a local store, with whom I do a modest trade, and I were talking, and I asked him if he was opening on Christmas Eve. He said, yeah, he’d probably knock off at noon, and I asked him if he’d like me to come up there at about eleven and bring my guitar, and he said, that’d be dandy, and, against all odds, I remembered it this morning and lit out for uptown.
“Lit out” is Southern for “went there.”
When I got there, it was dark, and the “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign was in the window. It was also raining and miserable, and I’d thought about calling up there and saying, what say let’s do this on New Year’s Eve, but, fortunately, we had the same line of thought, and the fellow who runs the store, a friend of mine, looked at the other fellow who was working there, and said, ain’t nobody going out in this mess, let’s head to the house. I was thinking the same way. I just wasn’t communicating.
Ah, well. I needed to go buy groceries, anyway, and I should have done it Monday, and then Tuesday, but things came up, and, as a result, I nibbled on peanut butter and saltines last night, watching Navy beat San Diego State, and reading a book, and, occasionally, checking on the Charlotte Hornets’ game, which they won.
Grocery shopping here on Christmas Eve is nothing like Black Friday, though all I know about that is the horror I’ve heard. My Christmas shopping was no more nettlesome than having to type in my card number a second time.
I used my tried-and-true method of shopping, which is to roll my cart idly up and down rows, hoping the items will remind me of what I need. It’s not really efficient. I have to double back numerous times. I have been known to target certain items based on current deals in the Bi-Lo Bonus Card program, which recently led to my buying gasoline at $2.01.9 per gallon.
It’s crowded at Bi-Lo, but everywhere people are talking to each other.
Making a return trip to the deli to pick up the smoked chicken breast I had earlier selected for slicing, I was daydreaming, and my buggy crossed the path of a woman even older than I. I sheepishly apologized. Five minutes later, I emerged from an aisle, and there was the same lady, eying me warily.
“Please go ahead,” I said. “I cut you off up yonder.”
“Aw, that’s awright,” she said.
A heap of Merry Christmasing ensued, and I bumped into one old friend, and all I could come up with was noting that his brother’s birthday was in the last few days, and that I knew that because we were Facebook friends.
From the end of one checkout line to the front of another: “Hey, Darlene! Have you seen Irene?”
Darlene turns around, waves, and says, “Hey! No, sure haven’t,” and then she presents her Bi-Lo Bonus Card to the girl behind the register.
I asked the cute checkout girl when she got off – that was as in, when do you get to go home and celebrate Christmas with your family? Not, as in, hey, good lookin,’ what you got cookin’?, and, yes, I am sufficiently old to be inoffensive – and she said two. I said, great, nobody ought to have to work all day on Christmas Eve.
The presence of my guitar caused me to take an inordinate amount of time loading my groceries in the truck, and I had to fumble with the keys and get the back opened, and, naturally, the rain was pelting, but then I got home and fixed myself a nice fried-egg-and-chicken sandwich, and I’ll be darned if another bowl game hadn’t come on. The Hilltoppers are taking on the Chippewas with fish-and-game rights on the line.
I hope the holidays are joyous for everyone. I appreciate you taking the time to read my silliness, but if you’re a glutton for my tripe, read my short fiction at www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com, as well. Somebody’s got to do it.