Sunday, June 29, 2014


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 Levis.   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. 


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.  



Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Darling Rachel,

......and what, exactly, were you doing, may we ask?

The detailed intensity of this writing makes the whole scene far from ordinary. As our minds are set drifting about cruise ships, country estates, dawgs, footwear, ingredients on the sides of tins and lists upon lists upon lists so this couple become a source of endless fascination.

What is their house like? Where do they holiday? Are there children? How big are the dawgs? So many questions are now set buzzing about in our heads. But, most importantly of all, we are left wondering how all this information is stored away in your head, ready to be released on the world in a blog post?

This is no ordinary Saturday!

harleygirl said...

Interesting. :) I always love to read your posts because there is a regional difference in our language that I like. I doubt we're very far apart, but you can tell that we're far enough that I sometimes say to myself, "What is that?" ha, ha. One of the same reasons that I enjoy penpalling. You get to learn phrases/sayings/words that you didn't even know existed! :)

racheld said...

Dear Inquiring Minds: Getting groceries with Sweetpea (she in a flaming red dragon cart, choosing limes and peppers and the cereal-of-the-week and hoarding the eggs besider her as she drove). I passed them twice; they, me, once. I saw the two red polos, the jeans, the hairdo, and it set off such a great slideshow of people I'd known forever, and forever ago. It was like watching decades march at a movie, with flashes of red and sprayed hair and add-a-bead gold necklaces. I didn't stare; it was so quick, I just wandered off, sentences dancing in the air.

I think they have a SOLID house, a sorta pinky-brick, built on several acres, and almost symmetrical with its roofline and the identical window patterns (white six-over-six, some Palladians)_ flanking a graceful rounded two-step brick porch on the front, and a wide stone patio on the back.

Her colors are plummy and fruity in the kitchen, with neat curtains and a crochet-edged dishtowel-to-match hung on the oven door. There's possibly a set of tie-on cushions in a purply plum print on the captain's chairs at the oval table in the eating area in the big kitchen.

Sometimes she sets the dining table with her beautiful wedding china and crystal stemware when nobody's coming, just to look at.

Living room in earthy tones, wall done that tone-on-tone Tuscanny gold, dabbed on layer after layer, with crumpled plastic bags.
Perk definitely has a La-Z-Boy recliner in the den, probably brown.

When you turn down the hall to the bedrooms, it smells like walking through Goldsmith's in 1984.

Children, grown and moved to cities, two big ole coon-dogs and a little dinky-bird "Shitsoo" named Miss Mel'nie, who owns Perk's chair. And Perk.

Thank you for asking, and for your always fun comments!!


racheld said...


Thank you for the sweet compliment! I'm from the MS Delta, where there's a whole 'nother language, and we've lived in the Heartland since 1990.

racheld said...

PS Sissy and Perk Covington, from all those flashbacks:

I'm trying to learn to make just a little "topic" thing to click on in the header, for all my Paxton People.

Released on the world indeed. Godzilla had no such fleeing hordes.

Justabeachkat said...

You amaze me! And make me happy to visit you.

Big hugs,

Kim S. said...

I want to gently hug them both and I hope that they sometimes realize how blessed they are to have each other and their routines. Routines and doing things automatically aren’t always evidence of quiet desperation. Sometimes they are evidence of ease and contentment.