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Like the Garden of Eden With The Greens And The Pomegranates

February 9, 2004

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I timed it right and got into the car just as the show began. About three years ago Mr. Sundberg gave me a Walkman so I could listen to music while I walk but since the pastor's wife and I hooked up I haven't needed music at all. We walk together pretty near every day when the snow and cold are gone, and let me tell you -- she talks and I talk and an hour is gone just like that. So I slipped on my black snow boots with the silver buckles and drove off since we were out of eggs and I've been hungry for buckwheat pancakes. (We often have breakfast-for-dinner on weekends-- usually on Sunday night.) I threw a frozen Freschetta stuffed crust cheese pizza in the oven, hollered "Back in a few!" to the kids and Mr. Sundberg , and I was off.

There's not much in the world as good as walking up and down the aisles of a grocery store when the sun is setting and you've got some time. The produce section is my favorite. It feels like the Garden of Eden with that mist coming down over the greens and the pomegranates in great piles and the scent of the bananas and oranges and pears stacked together on what appears to be real grass. I took a bite of a pear once without thinking and the man at the meat counter saw me so I went over and apologized and he winked at me and said, "Not a problem, Ma'am." I confess I blushed. I see him nearly every time I visit. His name is Pete and he 's been working there nearly ten years now and we have a kind of grocery-store friendship where I wave to him and he waves back and he always has a suggestion about how to cook a roast or grill salmon.

He was working Saturday night and asked what I was listening to. Oh, just the show, I told him and he handed me a package of boneless pork chops, $2.99 a pound on special. "Try these with wild rice and a sweet and sour glaze," he said. At that moment the Powdermilk Biscuit song was winding up and I did a little polka from the knees down thinking no one would notice but the bakery lady did and she stared at me as if my chandelier might be missing a few bulbs.

By the time I got to the frozen foods I was tired and hungry, and the vanilla ice cream with real specks of vanilla bean was looking darn good. So I put two containers in my cart, along with a frozen blueberry pie and some frozen peas for stir fry. Mr. Keillor had been talking about canned water chestnuts earlier which reminded me about stir fry, but the chestnuts were sold out so I got a rain check. I got all teared up while I put the groceries onto the conveyor belt. Billy Jo Shaver was singing, "I'm just an old chunk of coal but I'm gonna be a diamond someday." What a beautiful man. Seems Mr. Keillor said Billy Jo is a happy man who's had a sad life. Let me tell you, sad life or no, whatever road he's walked, the man can sing like all getout, and he's a poet to boot.

I made it home before the kids went to bed and kissed them and tucked them in and all that talk about 47 hot springs down in Arkansas where the show was had me in a bath mood so I filled it right up near the top and poured in some Sweet Pea bubble bath and soaked there for a very long time thinking of diamonds and coal and how, if I were single and looking for love, I'd head straight to the grocery store on a Saturday night.

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