I went to the grocery store on Monday to avoid the onslaught of shoppers, who like a starving swarm of locusts, will denude the isle ways in the next few days. Since my sister-in-law, Suzi, and I split the responsibilities for dinner, the meal is more manageable and I don't get neurotic and frenzied about everything. My daughter, Ella, and I took our list and checked it twice while shopping for the items I needed to prepare my dishes for Thanksgiving.
As my baby side kick and I were making our final pass through the produce section, chatting back and forth about the onions and apples, I noticed a tall thin man walking slowly around as well. Since it was early in the morning not many shoppers were out yet. He was inspecting the vegetables and carried only a plastic package containing fresh herbs in his hand. He was a "hippie" type complete with long hair in a pony tail at the base of his neck, a course fibered poncho, a "Mao" hat, and easy to wear shoes. I went to collage at U.C. Davis, in California and was well familiarized with the essential wardrobe for the more earthy people who lived at the "Domes." This gentleman was notably different from the cast during my collage days due to his extreme cleanliness, total lack of Patchouli scent, and a very carefully trimmed beard which ended at the base of his jaw. He was not carrying a shopping basket, nor did he have a cart.
I finished shopping with Ella after checking my list for a third and final time and headed to the check out counters. We purchased our goods and the cheerful bagging clerk helped us unload our booty into the back of the truck. As I was putting Ella in her car seat I remembered I needed to get some cash. So we went back into the store. I got some decaf coffee, added my
As we approached the checkout I observed the hippie gentleman standing at the front of the displays at the end of an aisle. He was holding his herbs and had put his hands in some type of meditative position in front of his stomach, facing the checkout lanes. Standing motionless with a serene look on his face I could not help but notice him. His display of inactivity and interior focus was drawing my attention as much as if he was shouting like a mad man, but I do not think he was insane. In fact, I thought he was likely thinking good holiday thoughts and Happy Thanksgiving to all the shoppers. At least that's what I felt. But not so to the employees in the store. As I neared the checker I could hear her saying to the bagger in a worried voice, "Look over there." Then she got on the phone to the manager saying, "Ralph, come up front please," with a tightly controlled urgency.
I looked back at our peaceful friend. His hand position had changed and they were lower but still poised looking something like yoga. He was not in the least bit threatening to me. Meanwhile, the checkers were still buzzing quitely back and forth in code like there was a terrorist in the store.
All I could think as I glanced back and forth between the silent man and the agitated employees was, "Leave him alone." The guy was not hurting anyone and for all I could tell he was not likely too. As I made my purchase and got my cash, I looked back one last time, and he was still just emitting calmness. No one from the store had confronted him yet.
Not knowing what happened next I like to think they left him alone, but most likely he was asked to leave and/or escorted out of the store. This in exchange for the good Karma I think he was sending all us shoppers. At least that's what I think he was sending. And I am going to try to keep his good and peaceful thoughts through this holiday.
These essential Thanksgiving items were not on my check list. But I still managed to bring them home.
You never know what you may pick up from the grocery store do you?
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!