This Town is Sooooo Small!!! (Part 2)

This Town is Sooooo Small!!! (Part 2)

Last week, I told you about Bonnie, our local grocery store clerk who knows WAY too much about people in this town.

This past week, I took Mason in for his annual physical. It was a new doctor’s office for us so there were lots of forms to fill out. We were there for about an hour and the doctor then led us into the hallway, toward the phlebotomist station. On the way, the doctor asked Mason (who is not a big boy) if he exercised. He said he walks and I mentioned that he spends a lot of time gardening when it’s not cold.

Right then, a voice popped up behind us, and said, “Yeah! He brings us lots of vegetables!”

We turned around and it was our neighbor, Kim, from across the street. I had no idea she was a nurse at that doctor’s office! We all had a good laugh, and talked about Christmas coming up, and I told her that her inflatable Santa, when not inflated during the day, looks dead when he’s lying on his face. We all laughed again. 😉

Yesterday, on the way to the grocery store, we passed our friend Terri on the way and we all waved. When I was on Aisle 2, I ran into Earl. Earl is a very jolly old fella who was behind us in line at the grocery store about three weeks ago. He kept commenting about all of the items in our grocery cart. I mean, he VERY LOUDLY repeated himself about a dozen times. “Wowweee! LOOK AT ALL THAT FOOD!”  “Wowweeee! You must have lots of kids!” “Wowweee! Where do you put all that stuff?” I admit it, it was starting to get a bit annoying. It was just one cart of food and it wasn’t overflowing.

He just kept saying, “Wowweee! LOOK AT ALL THAT FOOD!” He literally had one to-go box in his cart, probably from the deli. He might live alone but we have Mason here full time and Max on the weekends and they both eat like horses.

Anyway, when the cashier (not Bonnie!) was finished, she told me the amount. The old man said, “WHAT?! HOW MUCH?!?!” And, the cashier turned to him, and repeated the total, which I thought was hilarious because there is literally NO privacy in this town at all.

He replied “WOWWEEE!!!!”

Brian and I kept glancing at each other. Mason was bagging our groceries so he was pretending to ignore the exchange.

The very next Sunday, we were in line again and Brian whispered, “At least that old guy isn’t standing behind us guffawing at our grocery cart and bill!”

I chuckled and whispered back, “Look behind you.” And, there he was again, having just finished checking out with the next cashier.

It was pretty clear that we and this guy went grocery shopping at the same time on Sundays. He walked towards us and I smiled, and said, “Hi again! What’s your name?”

He replied, “Earl.”

He was wearing a full suit, just like the previous week.

I said, “It’s nice to meet you again, Earl!”

He laughed, and reached into his pocket, handing me two pamphlets from his church. He then winked, and said, “You started it!”

We then had a lovely conversation. We recently started attending a Baptist church in town and he also attends a Baptist church, but a different one. We managed to get away without him saying anything about the number of bags in our cart and I said, “See ya soon, Earl!”

This past Sunday, we had a very long grocery list since we are hosting the family on Christmas Eve and since Max, Mason, and our son, Frank, will be here for several days. I literally tore the long list in two when we walked into the store and Brian and I both grabbed carts, and went headed for separate sides of the store.

When I was on Aisle 2, guess who was passing me by? I said, “Hey, Earl! How are you??”

He replied, “How do you know my name?” (He’s old. I wasn’t surprised.)

I smiled, and reminded him, “We’ve run into each other three Sundays in a row now.”

He smiled back, reached into his pocket, and gifted me with another church pamphlet. This one had a Christmas theme. I thanked him and we started chatting out our churches again. Then, an elderly woman with a really awesome bouffant hairdo walked up. She attends church with Earl. He introduced us (after asking me to repeat my name).

So, we started talking about how our churches aren’t having Christmas Eve services and does anyone know who will this year? We talked about our Christmas plans for the following weekend and then Earl asked if he could pray for us and our families. Of course, we said yes! So, there I was, on Aisle 2 of the grocery store, with my head bowed, praying with Earl and the woman I’d just met. And, I have to tell you, I will never forget that moment. The closeness of virtual strangers, the love of virtual strangers, and a new friend wanting to pray for my family. What an angel Earl is!

So, we eventually parted ways. Brian and I finished our lists at the same time. Mason walked up and put some veggies he wanted in the cart. We then headed to the cashier. Unsurprisingly, Earl was right in front of us in line. He turned around, looked at our carts, and said loud enough for the entire store to hear, “Wowweee!!!! LOOK AT ALL THAT FOOD!!!”

Stay tuned for This Town is Sooooo Small – Part 3 next week!

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Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

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