A 3-Friend Walk for Groceries

Mar 19, 2015, By: Audrey

While Gus plays with the Japanese grandma next door (actually, they were probably watching televised sumo wrestling), Elsa and I decide to enjoy the sunshine by taking a stroll to the grocery store.

As soon as we open the front door, we see a friend. It’s an older gentleman taking his severely handicapped grandson for a walk around the neighborhood. The young man is high school-aged, but cannot see, hear, or speak. Usually he’s quiet during his daily walks with Grandpa, but sometimes he rocks forward and back and makes sounds. On this day, he seems to want to propel his own wheelchair, running his hands along the wheels’ rims.

We’ve walked along with these two on several occasions, but this time they lead us back to their home, about three blocks from ours. Grandpa shows me his small garden and the tiny buds on the strawberry plants. He tells me all about his other children and grandchildren. One granddaughter is studying abroad in Australia.

He knows we need to go shopping, so he says goodbye, we’ll see you next time.

Elsa and I start climbing the hill that leads to the store, gaining ground on the backpack-wearing Japanese lady ahead of us. My long stride often makes short work of overtaking other pedestrians. We catch up to her and discover it’s a church member who also lives in our neighborhood.

Mrs. Deerfield is also on her way to get groceries, so we walk together. In her backpack she carries empty PET plastic bottles to dump in the store’s recycling bin. We chat and walk, and when we reach our destination, she bids us Happy Shopping. I think she was afraid we might follow her around the whole store.

We quickly find everything on our short list, check out, and set off for home. At the bottom of the hill, a mother and her little girl are saying goodbyes to another mother and daughter after the four-year-olds have enjoyed playing together. One pair are headed in the same direction we are.

We’ve met before, and Gus has an open invitation to come over and play at their house. Spring break is next week, so Mom suggests our kids get together while they’re out of school. Sounds good to me! She doesn’t know where we live, so I invite her to come along and see where our house is. It’s only a couple blocks. Now that she can find us easily, we bid farewell with promises to meet again soon.

Elsa and I carry our groceries inside. We could have driven to the grocery store. I’m glad we didn’t.