Saturday, May 12, 2007

Grocery List

Ham Salad
*Cheese Danish*
Gravy Mix
Clothes Soap
Ice Cream
Imodium A.D.
After Shave
I found this list in the men’s restroom at the grocery store this evening. It reminded me of the scraps of paper Jola would find on the streets of Warsaw and would spend several days attempting to decipher the personality of the person who wrote such a thing.

I image the man who composed this list to be a 57-year-old, 230-pound African American who walks with a slight limp. His face is marked by laugh lines that a less generous person would assume were solely wrinkles and by kind eyes that have seen both too much sorrow and too deep joys. He calls everyone sir or ma’am, and makes sure to tip his fedora to his neighbors as he ambles down the sidewalks. Sometimes he stops at the freedman’s cemetery to pay his respects to those who have passed on and over; he’s never too busy to listen to children sing songs.

He doesn’t much care for dogs: they’re much too hyper for his sensibilities. Cats are fine, but he knows they’re the enemies of the birds he feeds scraps and crumbs to off his back porch every day.

He’s worried about the pain he’s been feeling in his left shoulder for the past three days, but medicine is a luxury and only as a last resort. Maybe tonight after supper he’ll soak a little in the tub to ease out some of the ache from the past several weeks. His feet smell, and he still tastes onions on his breath from lunch.

It sure was hot this afternoon, so he’s planning to take it a little easier tomorrow. Maybe water the plants hanging from his porch, maybe a game of dominoes with his niece who always comes over for a visit after church.

He knows he’ll be fast asleep when his head hits the bed tonight: a good conscience is the only pillow he needs.

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