A couple in Kroger: She in a red Polo, tucked into slim-legged dark blue jeans which touch her absolutely nowhere except at the waistband ---she’s “kept her figure,” but has never had any interest in showing it off. She wears immaculate small shoes, the usual “wedding set” on her left hand, and a more elaborate “dinner ring” on the right. She probably wore this outfit, maybe with little espadrilles, when they’d been married twenty years, instead of forty, and probably still wears Norell or Estee, though I didn’t get that close. Her hair just touches the back of her neck, curled under gently, and swept back a little from her face, revealing tiny ruby studs in her ears.
Her purse is solidly hooked on her left arm, and her glasses ride pretty low on her nose, as she takes down boxes and cans, reading labels and ingredients, and looks up and over at the prices in the slide. A wide neat wallet of coupons is clipped to the edge of the cart’s baby seat, arranged, of course, in order of their sequence in the store aisles, and as one is removed, it’s slid to the back into a slot. She’s also one to remove a great sheaf of them from the little plastic hooks on the shelves, as long as the dates go pretty far out. She stands tearing apart the pads of them gently, unsticking a few for right here, right now, collecting the right number of items, and sandwiching the little packet into its spot in the wallet before rolling on.
I could see her checking off items on a printed list, against a matching check-mark on the left---she apparently shops like my long-ago friend Betty, who typed up one master-list, Xeroxed it fifty times or so on her lunch hour, then stuck a whole bunch of them on her fridge. She’d see she was getting low on bananas or Clorox or grits, and put a check to the left of that on the fridge list, with a corresponding check on the right when she picked up the item in the store.
He walks ahead of himself, leading with his shoulders and bent just a bit, but not to that stage of older men who lean forward and paddle the air with both hands behind them---for balance or propulsion, I've never known. His flat-butt jeans are a thick, long-worn denim, with that pale square wallet-print on one hip pocket like any man who owns two dawgs, a little bit of land and a really swell pickup. He wears a red polo, as well, bought to match for a cruise, but the color of his is more intense, for hers gets worn and washed for everyday wear, and his is saved for more important events, like the monthly trip over to the big Kroger, or out to supper at Shoney’s with some friends passing through town. His shirt is tucked in, of course---he’d no sooner wear an untucked shirt than he’d leave his HANES tag above the top of his
. His slight paunch hovers gently over a big
round belt-buckle, and his immense white New Balance shoes draw your gaze to
the floor with every step, like those flashes-in-the-dark of a playing-card
stuck into the bicycle spokes of a kid out past supper-time. Levis
He’s the reacher, the lifter, the get-down-on-the-bottom shelf grabber, and she list-keeper, the chooser and weigher and side-panel reader.
I surmise that he’s driving, though she may write out the check, and she’ll grab a couple of bags from the back seat when they get into the driveway, unlock the house and head in, already snugging things into fridge and cabinets before he’s got the first load out of the truck.
They probably stopped for lunch at Bob Evans, after he mowed the lawn and she made two pies for Church Supper tonight, before heading to the store.
A totally satisfactory duo for an ordinary Saturday.