Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesdays for my Wife: Shopping for Mary

This is an Encore Presentation: I originally published this for the 2014 A to Z Challenge. By the way, the signups for the 2016 Challenge start on January 25, 2016, which is only forty days from today. I hope you join us. It’s lots of fun and you meet a lot of other bloggers. More information at the A to Z Challenge website.

Until the stroke, I did the grocery shopping. Mary would write a list with my input and I would take it to Kroger, Publix, or Winn-Dixie (when it was still doing business in Atlanta) and get everything on it.

Or at least try to get everything on the list.

I’m not talking about knowing what I was supposed to get and not getting it because the store was out of it. I’m talking about trying to figure out what Mary wanted and not being able to, or determining that what she was asking for was not available. Sometimes, I could figure out what it was she wanted: one week, she wanted “muffin thingies” and somehow I knew she meant the paper cups that line the spaces in a muffin baking pan.

Other times, it wasn’t so simple.

She sent me out once and one of the things on the list was “pastry shells.” I figured she wanted a pie shell, and brought one home.

“No, no, no, this isn’t what I wanted. The ones I’m looking for are a lot smaller.” I went back out and brought home tart shells.

“No, this isn’t right, either. I want pastry shells, but not these.”

“Fine,” I said. “Next time, you come with me and get what you want.”

She came with me to the store, we went to the freezer case, and she picked up a box of puff pastry shells. “This is what I wanted. Why couldn’t you get these?”

“Well, why didn’t you tell me you wanted puff pastry shells?” I had seen them every time I was at the store, but had no idea that’s what she wanted.

“I couldn’t remember what they were called.”


Other times, I flat out couldn’t find what she was asking for. She might as well have been asking for the firing pin for a nuclear device.

My favorite story about shopping, though, had to do with potato peelers.


One week, Mary sent me out with a list that included “potato peeler.” I brought one home from the store, no problem.

Three weeks later, I get a list, and she’s asking for a potato peeler again. I thought, didn’t I just buy her a potato peeler? I shrugged it off and bought her another potato peeler.

Two weeks later, she’s asking for another potato peeler.

“Mary, didn’t I just buy a potato peeler?”

“I can’t find it.”

“Did you look in the silverware drawer?” I knew that whenever I unloaded the dishwasher and found a potato peeler, I would put it in the drawer with the forks and knives and whatever.

“Yes, and it wasn’t there.”

We go to the kitchen and open the silver drawer. Like most people, we have one of those silverware caddies in the drawer, and everything else gets thrown in there more or less at random. I lifted the caddy, and found at least five potato peelers under there.

“Oh,” she said. “I guess you can cross that off the list.”

We still laugh about that.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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