A Return To Poor Person's Shopper's Food Warehouse
I don't know what it is about Poor People's Shopper's Food Warehouse, but I keep getting into the most interesting conversations in there. The other night I went in for a few things. The store wasn't crowded, but there was a backed up line at one register. An older black woman was in front of me, dressed to the nines. She had on a white raincoat with gold buttons, a white lacey hat, black dress, hose and shoes. She turned and whispered to me conspiratorily, "There's only one woman checking out," (meaning the cashier.) "Really?" I whispered back. She nodded like it was a disgrace and crying shame as in "what's the world coming to?"
We started talking. She told me she had been to a funeral at her church earlier in the day, and she said, "I was in such a rush to the get to the church on time I did something stupid." I asked what and she smiled and said, "I forgot to put in my teeth." Sure 'nuff, just a few scragglies here and there. I told her I certainly didn't notice because I was admiring her hat and thought she looked "real spiffy." She thanked me then started telling me about how she had found some real bargains (mint Life Savers.) Her cart was packed, and she was leaning over it with her cane.
She asked about a cake in my cart from the bakery, and I told her I had a friend with a birthday, and even though they said not to do anything, I got a small Italian cream cake and some candles to celebrate. She said, "When a man tells you not to do anything, they really mean for you to do it." I nodded. She went on to praise the bakery and how the woman who baked for the store was "a doll." I had only seen an older woman back there with gold teeth, so I guess that's who she meant. Next time in, I'll remember "doll," rather than "teeth."
She went on discussing the store in general, then we shifted the conversation. I had mentioned I was tired from being over in a house of someone deceased, clearing things out until late, and I was really dragging. I told her the woman had been 96 years old and living on her own, and that seemed to perk her up; thinking she might make it that way, maybe. We talked about what it was like removing things from a deceased person's house. She said, "I'm originally from Philadelphia, but I've been living down here for decades. When my mother took sick, my two brothers wanted me to move back to Philly to take care of our mother, but I told them "No. I'm not doing it." She paused and added, "That would be my brothers Jack and.....Jack Ass."
She stayed put in D.C. with no regrets. She said they still want her back up there, but she isn't budging. She talked about a man in her life who is "sniffing around her." Trust me, this woman had me howling with laughter. It was all in her expressions and timing. A store manager came up and split us up to go into two express lanes. I told her I didn't want to go because when that happened last time, the cashier was looking at my coupons and check and license, just short of biting it for authenticity, and everyone being held up was pissed, and sure enough, I got back into that cashier's line again. Same thing.
When I was done, I saw the church lady over by the pharmacy talking to a friend, so I went over and said, "I want to thank you for our conversation today. It absolutely made my day, and I had such a good time talking to you." Her friend turned to me and said proudly, "She goes to my church!" I told her, "Well, it's obvious everyone in the store knows her and loves her (they did know her, too,) and that she's a very interesting lady....and funny. My church lady turned to me and said, "I'm the Whoopi Goldberg of Aisle 3!" And on that note, we parted. Laughing.