Everyone has a list when they come in. Big carts, little carts, red baskets. Sales on apples, sales on bananas - were these even on my list? Halloween barely over and the sugar is on sale! Can't wait for Christmas? Men push the carts, women hold the lists, kids want the free cookie. Thursday is always busy, Friday is quiet in the mornings. Football days - hot dogs are on sale and pop is 2 for $5. Bags of candy are half-priced, overfull cart of additives tempting at the door. Old people come in the morning, young people come in the afternoon, moms come with babies after morning nap. The cart pushers wear gloves, the carts are loud rumbling on the tile floor, make a ruckus at the door. They bring their own shopping bags. Swanson broth is on sale for Thanksgiving. It is November 2. C&H Sugar is 2 for $5, store brand is $2.28, side-by-side on a big pallet. "This week only - Triple coupons!" "It's Switch and Save Week!" Box tops for education are supposed to help schools. The store manager is a woman. Firewood is on sale. Apple cider in gallon and half gallon jugs. Campbell's Mushroom Soup is $1.19. She brings back the glass milk jar to get a new one, deposits $3.50. Who stores up Halloween decorations for the next year? Seafood Department has catfish fillets for $4.99 - "just-in-time for dinner" - it is 10:32am. Talking loudly on the smart phone "she told someone higher up than me..." Switch from Halloween balloons to Fall balloons. Kid with grandpa, no school today? Charlie Brown sweat shirt gets a cart - too early for Christmas! Lights, wreaths, red ribbons in the Floral Department. Why does everyone have to enter through the produce when the milk is way in the back? Retired Chemical Workers Local 544 wear the jacket and buy the chicken broth. Retired Army Colonel wears the hat. Crestwood, South County - the mall is dead across the street. Empty parking lots are like a graveyard. Grocery stores are locally owned here. Cart wipes kill 99.9% of bacteria! Walking canes come in different shapes and the motorized shopping cart doesn't work today. Sandwich generation brings mom shopping. Widower does it alone with a big cart. Trees outside are changing colors. Grocery stores have floor to ceiling windows. Workers take smoking breaks out back. Starbucks is down the street. Coffee in the store is gross. "Mommy can we get this pleeaaseeeeee?" Same people every week same time. Shopping bags are recyclable. Flu shot for $27.99. Bagged Ripe & Ready Bananas for $1.69. Lottery machines, coin machines, U S Bank. Sales papers come out on Thursday. Rakes are red this year. Hand cream on sale for $3. Floral bouquets for $17. Mammoth Ferm for $24.99. Recess snack size for $1.99. Entemann's Little Bites are 2 for $5. Everyone can hear the one-sided cell phone chat. Giant caramel and pecan apples for $5.99. Advertisements on shopping carts. Neighborhood newspapers are at the entrance. Do people use the yellow pages anymore? floral department wears an apron. Sensible shoes come in different colors. Books. Beer. Bakery. Green Giant cut green beans are 2 for $1. Frozen Foods are far away from Produce. Voice on the intercom says to "call 91" "Floral Department you have a call holding on 1" "Lauren you have a call parked on 1." His pacifier is a football. Neighborhood people meet in the cart aisle. Pay electric bill, list on back of envelope. Coupon lady has a plastic box. Recycle clean plastic bags here. "Meat department you have a call holding." The produce guy is the cart guy is the bagger guy and the cart girl has the day off. Little kids like the steering wheel cart. Lots of people come at 11:45am. Retired Baby Boomers do it themselves. 101st Airborne. "My knees are hurting, think I may get the sugar." New immigrants come every day. He skip-ran to get the last car cart, "Mommy, race car!" Big boy, mommy holds baby sister. Silver hair gets three of the $5.99 giant caramel and pecan apples. Salad bar 1 lb for $6.99. Eat really fast on 15 minute break. 6 hour shift, no lunch hour, no benefits. Stock guys wear khaki and red. Bakery and floral wear the same. Cashiers wear all black. Cart guys wear khaki and black. Listen to the languages. Young couples come at 12:32pm. Older gentlemen take the hat off when they come inside. Smart car in the parking lot - where will they fit the groceries? Crowd of seniors come at the same time. "So how are you?" "Fine, and you?" Starbucks cup in one hand, talking on the smart phone in another hand - how will she push that cart? Cell phone walking, "I'm looking for some glueten free cookies for you" as she puts Halloween sale candy in the shopping cart. 10 for $10 mix-and-match sale. They rock side-to-side when they walk, hold the cart for support. High heeled boots to grocery shop. Too many black purses. All black in red ankle boots. "Hey! I know you." He wears black compression socks and khaki shorts. The worker in brown leather jacket pushes the old lady in the wheelchair with the grocery cart attached. Coach purses with the double CCs are ugly. Motown playing on the loudspeaker. Dancing in the street. $1 off 8 piece fried chicken. Catholic school kids shop with the whole family. Mom has four under 6 and one more on the way. Nuns don't all wear habits anymore. Ethnic priest wears the white beard and round hat, all black robes to his ankles. Aging lebians have short hair. Hostess twinkies are $1. Go home at 3:00pm.
"Standing On The Side Of The Road" I am standing here on the side of the road - Trying desperately not to be seen It is the middle of your busy day You do not notice me with your latte Guarding against the cold wind- Frozen inside outside walking here and there No mansion or house to put my belongings, no one to care- I am standing here on the side of the road- Not the trash you just tossed away That latte and uneaten muffin, my only meal today Standing here, shivering in the city alone No one to shelter and love me in the biting cold You are busy, I know, but see me please Life is not pleasurable or one of simple ease I once had a home and a family too Rushed through life, busy like you Forgotten and discarded in the corner cafe Wishing for more than your morning latte My only hope, made it last all day Trying hard not to be in anyone's way Standing on the side of the road It is where I live, where I grow old Please remember when you rush by T