It’s Friday

Grocery shopping stressful without friends to talk to

Seems I’ve spent a substantial amount of time just looking lately. Most of the moving boxes have been emptied. Things are pretty much in place, but where is now the question. I’ve put so much up that I’ve forgotten already where it all is. That really became obvious over Thanksgiving when everyone kept asking me where things were. I had to go looking…
Luckily so far I’ve found what I’ve looked for… a wonderful church family, a pharmacy, a dry cleaners, a hair stylist, and a really good hamburger. DW and I like to look local.
And a grocery store. Thankfully there’s a great smaller sized grocery store rather close to my house and it reminds me of the old Piggly Wiggly in size and staff. It has a great hot food deli, famously known for its fried chicken.
Seems lots of people come looking for lunch every Sunday. The line for a meat and three winds clear to the back of the store, almost every day at lunch time. But sometimes I must go elsewhere to complete my grocery list.
Like last week. I took my short list and headed to a new super-sized super market. More specifically I went looking for Land of Lakes margarine, McCormick real vanilla flavoring, 8 O’Clock bean coffee, cereal and snacks for the grandchildren (which I had forgotten), another dozen eggs and gallon of 2 percent milk. That’s all. Easier said than done.
First, though I had to look for a parking place. Being a creature of habit, I turned in the direction of where I parked the only other time I had been there. I steered toward a slot just being vacated only to realize someone else wanted it. The driver blew her horn at me and seemed to charge her car at me. Not worth parking lot rage, I apologized, backed out, and went looking for another place to park, my heart pounding. I took a deep breath, gathered up my wits and went in and looked around. First to spend too much time looking at floral, then at the cheeses, next freshly baked breads and pastries and the whole time seriously debating over a cup of Starbucks coffee. Finally, I got back to what I went in looking for.
I despise going backward in a grocery store, but the baking aisle was so crowded that I forgot the vanilla so I had to go back. I sure couldn’t go home without it, but there was none. Frustrated, I’d have to look elsewhere. I stepped backwards, accidently in front of a hurried shopper, who sighed heavily showing her frustration for having to slow down for a half second. My heart was pounding again. Something wasn’t right, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I kept on shopping and looking.
Finally, at the check-out I seemed to frustrate the cashier because I couldn’t get my card in the chip reader which was badly cockeyed. He had to reach over and straighten it. My heart was pounding again as I reinserted my card. I felt like crying. This wasn’t usual for me. As I stood sheepishly waiting I thought I heard my name. Then again. I looked up and saw sweet Jenny, a friend and running buddy of daughter-in-law Laura’s. She was smiling at me. It’s amazing what a smiling friendly face will do for you. I felt so much better.
Then I realized what was wrong. It wasn’t the store, it was me. There were no familiar faces in that store. No one to stop and chat with, no one to wave at, no one to share a recipe with or talk football with, or wish a happy holiday. I was missing familiarity, I was missing you.
Jenny’s smile made my day and I went to bed that night determined every day to look for a new friend, to make someone else smile, and to always find the farthest parking space available.

Recipe of the Week

White Chicken Chili
Surprise a few folks with a warm bowlful and watch them smile!

1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 clove garlic, chopped
1¼ cups chopped onion
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
1 can diced Rotel tomatoes, original
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 ¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken broth (canned or homemade)
2 – 3 cans white beans or Navy beans, drained
¼ cup Monterey jack cheese, grated

Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Mix all ingredients, except beans and cheese, together in large pot. Simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Stir in beans, continue to cook on low for another 15 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Top each serving with grated cheese. So good with cornbread.

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