The other day at the grocery store, an employee manning the food sample area was winking and goofing with a two-year-old sitting in her mom’s grocery cart. She had pigtails high up on her head, a pink outfit, giant orange sunglasses, and she was doubtfully holding the small cup of food her mother had given her. He clucked at her to get her to eat it, gently teasing and waving, while the mom wandered a few feet away to get some bread. After she came back and pushed the cart on, the girl was still wondering what to do with the cup in her hand. The sample guy turned to a grinning me and said “I knew her before she was.”
We have someone like that! Roger, who used to work at a different grocery store was usually at the register when I would waddle in with my big belly full of L, accompanied by my boisterous15-month-old B.
I hated grocery shopping then – B was not into restraint – and Roger, by simply remembering us and making small talk, made the whole experience easier. He was there when I started bringing a tiny L in her carseat, there when we all barreled through the aisles with those kid grocery-cart trucks. He gave them little honey sticks that were at the checkout, and watched the toddlers look puzzled, or perhaps unimpressed, when we tried to explain how he’d known them from the very beginning.
Roger was amazed as the girls passed my waist and make for my shoulders. They never really got it, but smiled politely when they saw him, while I greatly enjoyed hearing about his trials at work, his various moves, his visits to his father in Guatemala.
Perhaps this is one of life’s little common pleasures. The sample guy on my recent shopping trip has his own memories. With a chuckle, he recalled, how as a boy, “My mom and I would go to the Safeway every week, and there was Joe. He’d always call me a good boy.”
I now realize that I haven’t seen Roger in many months. I don’t know why and wish him well. He’s been like a human growth chart, a mirror to our lives letting us know, just by noticing us, how time is passing. Thanks.