Take Time To Smell the Roses

Roses climbing an old arbor in our back yard.

Roses climbing an old arbor in our back yard.

Today, was shopping day. We, Steve and I, had a quick cup of coffee and cereal for breakfast then I headed for the bedroom to dress and get ready to go. The last time we went I had a panic attack in Wal-Mart. I sat on the pharmacy bench, counting product on the shelf, the rows, the number of bays, then went to reciting the names of my children in my head and then the names of my dogs. Familiar stuff, recall familiar things.  Breath. What was my name, where was I at and why was I there. Did I have a list? Breath.Concentrate on breathing.Slowly, deeper breaths, relax. There were simply too many people  that day and too much noise. Hey, try that breathing thing again. You have to breath! The sounds all ran together and made a horrid roaring in my head. faces were blurry and getting distorted. I hated this. Even as I sat, the sweat poured off my brow.I continued counting and practicing my breathing.  It finally eased up and I was able to move on but I think it took at least twenty minutes to a half hour before I could function again. Today would be different. I was feeling stronger, more focused. Today we weren’t pressed for time or on any kind of schedule. So as I reassured myself of these facts I grabbed a cap from my hat holder, formerly a shoe bag, you know one of those that hold twelve pair of shoes and hangs on the back of a door,  of which I had every pocket stuffed with a baseball cap of some sort. I love hats, and have many. Today’s was adorned with fake rhinestones spelling out, “Got Money, Lets Shop.” Yes, along with hats, I love glitz and glitter. You’ll probably find out more about those traits later, in another post somewhere down the road, but for right now, back to today. I exited the bedroom announcing to Steve that I was ready as I stuffed my notebook, phone, sunglasses and camera into my over-sized, purse of sorts. Steve swears I need one with wheels. We headed out the door, double checking with each other that we had taken care of everything that needed our attention before we left. I had fed and put the little dogs out, he did the big dogs and fed the cat. Coffee pot off, lights off, doors locked, yep we were ready. First stop, his pharmacy. Done. Next, my pharmacy. Done. Okay, to Costco to get bread. Just bread. It comes in a two loaf package, bigger loaves, and half the price a one single, smaller loaf at any other store. After almost being run over in the cross walk we entered the store, headed down the main aisle and, “Oh my, look at the beautiful jewelry!” Twenty minutes later after viewing every piece and drooling over the gorgeous, red, Coral, three hundred dollar necklace, we moved on. Alright, Olive Garden salad dressing, two bottles, less than the price of one at the other store, good deal. Down the next aisle, another, “good deal”, and so our shopping went. We stopped to look at some small appliances. Another lady, Marsha, was looking at the same mixer we were. We were just looking because of the difference in the mixer, a Bosch, six and a half quart, eight hundred watt and we were liking the way it was set up. Marsha actually needed a new mixer and I think when she gets ready, partially due to our “comparison sales pitch” between the Bosch and the Kitchen Aid, she’ll be choosing the Bosch. Now, this conversation included much more than selling her on the mixer. We shared several stories with her. She was a Critical Care Nurse at one of the hospitals where Steve had heart stuff done so they talked about the Dr’s, surgeons, and procedures around heart care, hospital policies came up, as did the food served. Of course she learned of the moth in Steve’s salad at one of the hospitals and then we all got into crafts and hobbies, pictures included. Since the pictures came out, there was also discussion about kids and grand kids. We shared with her our story about our VW Bus, neon glasses, and Jive Bunny, which I’ll share with all of you another time, and of course, how we, using our aliases, “Bert and Lonnie”, still, yet another story, got through a couple of rough spots.  Marsha, whom we had never met before was so extremely nice and we all had such a wonderful conversation, probably forty-five minutes worth of conversation, and even hugs between her and I before we said our good byes. She was off to meet her daughter and attend her grand daughters soccer game and we, with our two loaves of bread and  almost two hundred dollars worth of other  “good deals” were headed for Wal-Mart. It was really a good thing we weren’t in a hurry or on a schedule. That bread stop turned into a two hour, very enjoyable, so consequently, worthwhile, stop. Finally, Wal-Mart, we were there. Steve’s insulin, me a blood pressure cuff, a bag of salad, you know, not too much stuff, and then on our way again. He got his, I got mine, then back to the photo department to have a couple of prints made that I wanted to send off in the mail. After doing the pictures, he was reading magazines so I quickly grabbed some dog shampoo and returned. Hearing my name I popped back over to pick up the pictures. “Hi, I think mine are ready.” I said to the clerk. “Yes, Sandy, right?”

At that point the man behind me, looking at the pictures he had just picked up, said to me, “Yes, he tried to give yours to me. Your name is Rogers? I’m Larry Rogers. Do you think there is any connection?”

“Nice to meet you, Larry,” I replied as I held out my hand to give him a hand shake. “I think maybe my husband could answer that better. He’s coming right there.  Steve, this is Larry Rogers.”  and the conversation began.

It turned out that the three of us were all born and raised in Port Angeles, went to the same schools, attended some of the same functions and frequented the same restaurants and stores around town. Larry has a brother, Nick, and Steve had a brother Nick, who has gone on to be with God. Our Nick was the same age as Larry. We had a wonderful conversation about Port Angeles in the “old days”, the rivers, the parks and campgrounds, walking to the movie theater as kids and getting periwinkles (my job when my brothers would take me with them) while fishing in Tumwater Creek and so much more. Larry seemed to be a lover of nature and I could tell he really loved the area we all came from. He had worked at the Sol Duc Hot Springs as a young man and knew all the fishing areas around. Steve had hiked all those areas so they both were very  at ease their conversation. We knew all the places he mentioned and he had also been every where we had been. It was a great place to grow up. Our parents had all spent at least their entire adult lives there. His mom, still living at at the age of 99. He had just been there and took her out to dinner last weekend. And of course you would know, at the same restaurant that Steve and I ate at once a week when we were remodeling my Mom and Dad’s house back in two thousand and five.

So now, let’s see, a very enjoyable hour spent with Larry reminiscing about all our favorite haunts as kids , off to grab that bag of salad, and I guess a couple other things because we finally got back out of the store with only the diminishing of a hundred and twelve dollars from our pockets.

Shopping, it’s a good thing we don’t do it often. A lot of time, although very enjoyable, and we met two really nice people. A lot of money, not intended but needed, and back home again and gee, it was one o’clock when we left home and we just walked in the door at nine twenty. Now you do have to take into consideration it takes an hour to get to and from any of these stores from out place so two hours of our time was spent totally in travel time.

Our dogs were so excited to see us and get their dinner. The little ones acted like had

we torchered them by leaving them out for the day. But hey, it was seventy degrees, they have a covered patio, beds, water and toys plus a well fenced yard so nothing can harm them so they can accept being out there for the day from time to time.  The two big ones were just happy we were home. Ziva wanted to come in and sit in Steve’s chair and Lollie grabbed a toy and followed Steve around, pushing it at his leg wanting him to throw it for her. She wagged her tail so big she could hardly walk. We threw some left over homemade mac and cheese in the microwave, put groceries away and called it good. Another day, another adventure. We didn’t get everything done that we intended which I realized as I picked my “list” up off the dining table where it sat the entire day. Oh well, time and money can’t compare to the conversations with the people we met along the way. You all know the old saying, “Take time to smell the roses.” These two new acquaintances were the roses in our travels today, unexpected, unplanned, but two beautiful people. It was a good “feel good”  day.

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