Thrift sometimes takes a bit of work.
Getting our month’s worth of groceries, and Sharon and me, wedged into the old silver Mustang was a challenge, especially since much of the food was in those cardboard boxes with the fronts cut out. Things just wouldn’t stay inside or stack very well. We managed, though, with much repacking, rearranging, and as always, much laughter and mutual teasing.
“Why didn’t you tell me that box wouldn’t fit in the trunk?”
“You know if we eat three bags of cookies and two boxes of cereal, right now, everything would fit in the back seat just fine.”
Finally, everything in those two buggies was in the car, and so were we. In the front seat, Sharon rested her feet on that case of corn and held the thermos of Kool-aid between her knees. She bit into a chocolate chip cookie.
I leaned back against the headrest and closed my eyes. The car, parked in the shade while we were shopping, was cool and a light breeze dried the sweat on my forehead. I bit into a cookie. Sharon was right. The cookies were good. But even better was my anticipation of a month’s worth of plenty of everything Sharon could possibly want, or need, to eat.
Twenty minutes later, we were turning into the library parking lot.
“Don’t we have to go home and put the groceries up first?”
“No, baby. Remember, Jewel-T doesn’t sell food that has to be refrigerated.”
Sharon spent the next half hour or so in the middle reader section, in a delicious state of indecision. Should she pick one of the few Beverly Cleary books on the shelf we hadn’t read or save some for the next time? And which book in the Bunnicula series did she want next?
Meanwhile, I had found two more books, one on philosophy and another on creative thinking, and had copied the Encyclopedia Britannica’s 15-page article on aesthetics. How I loved studying whatever interested me!
I was about to meander over to Middle Readers to select my own books to be reading with Sharon when the incongruity of a bright orange binding among all the black, gray, and dull green, stopped me. The title of the volume, “The Gift of the Deer”, and the author, Helen Hoover, both were unfamiliar. Being a library edition, the book, of course, had no jacket to describe its contents. Per force of habit, I flipped it open about one-quarter of the way from the front, intending to sample a few paragraphs here and there every few pages or so, my usual method of getting a feel for a strange author. This time, it took only two samples before I sat down on the nearest footstool and just read. That’s where I was, five minutes and ten pages later.
“Mommy!” Sharon’s stage whisper sounded slightly accusatorial.
“Where were you? I’ve been looking all over for you!”
“I’m sorry, baby, but I started reading this book about this couple who both quit their jobs in Chicago and went to live in a log cabin, just like Little House, only this is in Minnesota instead of the midwest, and . . .
With difficulty, for the next hour, I turned my attention to the tasks of getting our books checked out and lugged to the car and of getting us, our books, and our groceries home and lugged into the house.