Yesterday afternoon, I hit the grocery store for a few items. And I mean, just a few because I was in a hurry. I was rather sailing down the the bread aisle when I almost took out an older gentleman who was reaching for a loaf of rye bread. How did I know it was rye? He dropped it as I screeched to a halt. I stood in horror as he looked directly at me. Then he said something that I didn’t expect.
“Young lady,” he said. (I liked him already). “You are missing much by speeding around such.”
He was so calm as he said this. The kind of calm that comes from experience. I offered a heartfelt apology as I picked up his bread. And then he said something that, quite simply, amazed me. He asked if I had ever read the play Our Town, by Thornton Wilder. That question stopped me in my tracks.
“Yes,” I said. “I have. I taught that play almost every year for 30 years. It is my favorite play.”
He smiled. “Do you know the line… ‘It goes so fast… .'”
And I nodded as I finished the line with him, “‘We don’t have time to look at one another.'”
He gently touched my hand as he received his loaf of rye bread, and he looked me directly in the eyes. He said, “You have pretty green eyes.” Then he laughed and said, “Slow down! You move too fast.”
I almost broke into that old 59th Street Bridge Song… you know the one… “Slow down, you move too fast, you’ve got to make the morning last…” But the elderly sage was patting his bread in his cart and walking away. I called “thank you” instead. He turned. Winked. And away he went.
And you know what? I did slow down. I breathed in the sights and sounds and smells of that grocery store. I helped a young mom pick up a row of rice boxes that her child had knocked off the shelves. I watched a dad explain why the lobsters had large yellow elastics bands around their claws…
… and I heard the child ask, “But Daddy. How do they wipe their butts?”
Oh well. I was “Just lookin’ for fun. And feelin’ groovy.”
All in all, my trip to the grocery store was nothing short of miraculous.