9.9.2020 – enchantment is cast

enchantment is cast upon you by all those things you don’t have need for

I finished up work on time last night and my commute home took as long as it took me to walk from the back room to the kitchen. My wife was about to leave for the grocery store and I asked, ‘Can I come along?’ Working from home has it positives and I am not sure I am ready to sing the I miss the drive to downtown Atlanta blues, but aside from our walks I do not often leave home between Sunday and Saturday. My wife looked at me like I was up to something. I just wanted to get out. “I just have a few things,” she said. OK. “You can’t ask for anything.” Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm OK. And off we went. A trip to the grocery store. If you can separate it down to its parts, it is bizarre and amazing. Eudora Welty wrote in her short story, “The Corner Store” or “The Little Store,” that “Running in out of the sun, you met what seemed total obscurity inside. There were almost tangible smells – licorice recently sucked in a child’s cheek, dill-pickle brine that had leaked through a paper sack in a fresh trail across the wooden floor, ammonia-loaded ice that had been hoisted from wet crocker sacks and slammed into the icebox with its sweet butter at the door, and perhaps the smell of still-untrapped mice.” Kroger is a long way from the Corner Store of Ms. Welty’s Jackson, Mississippi. Running in out of the sun, you are met with bright lights but still the tangible smells. But the scope and breadth and width of all the available stuff is still there as well. Ms. Welty wrote, “Its confusion may have been in the eye of its beholder.” I also thought of Bill Bryson’s comments on a visit to the Liverpool Docks. Mr. Bryson wrote, ” . . . gazing out on miles of motionless waterfront, it was impossible to believe that until quite recently – and for 200 proud and prosperous years before that – Liverpool’s 10 miles of docks and shipyards provided employment for 100,000 people directly or indirectly. Tobacco from Africa and Virginia, palm oil from the South Pacific, copper from Chile, jute from India, and almost any other commodity you could care to name passed through here on its way to begin made into something useful.” (Notes from a small island, London : Doubleday, 1995). All the world was brought together for me here under one roof. And my wife had already said, “You can’t ask for anything.” So into Kroger we went. Oreos from somewhere. Giant apples. Slabs of fish, and steak and ribs. Coffees and teas from everywhere. Fruity drinks and salty chips. Frozen foods that covered any other type of eatable that wasn’t fresh. Was there anything you could eat that wasn’t here? Was they anything that I needed? No, not really. But as Ms. Welty wrote, “Enchantment is cast upon you by all those things you weren’t supposed to have need for.” I was under an enchantment. I wanted everything. Kroger. Where the world comes together just for me.

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