Yesterday, I ran to the supermarket for a few items.
My friends and always gracious hosts, Janet and Paul had invited me over to watch the Academy Awards. This has been a ritual of ours for the past few years. Together we had watched the debacle when La La Land mistakenly was announced as Best Picture instead of Moonlight. Thankfully, that shocking moment was resolved and had a good ending as we laughingly bid each other goodnight. Unlike another shared TV experience–2016’s Election Night–which ended in tears.
This year’s text invite asked the guests if crepes were ok for the evening’s fare. Mais oui, I responded and asked if I could make any fillings. Within seconds, Janet confidently suggested Caramel Sauce or Lemon Curd. I declined on the Caramel Sauce but offered that I would bring Lemon Curd–which I had never made before–and whipped cream.
So mid-afternoon, there I was in the store in search of lemons, heavy cream and a few other things. While I was standing by the nuts, thinking they might be something else I could bring to the fête, I noticed a man near me, also musing on some shelf options. He was holding both a bag of Oreos and a bag of either hot dog buns or sub rolls. I am not sure which. There was something in the juxtaposition and composition that struck me. Maybe it was the way he was carrying them rather than pushing them around in a cart. My mind fleetingly registered some run-of-the-mill judgmental thought, equating him and those exposed milled white floured and sugared products. It then returned to thinking about nuts and chose Salt and Vinegar Almonds.
At the check-out area, I was glad to see that the Academy Awards did not provoke the same food shopping frenzy as the Super Bowl. I picked the “fewer than 14 items” lane for the sake of time. I was starting to feel rushed as there were still lemons to curd and cream to whip. However, after unloading my cart onto the belt, I discerned there was trouble at the register. The older, slightly disheveled man checking out in front of me was having some difficulty with the credit card machine and his pin number. I exhaled and told myself just to be patient. Besides, Janet and Paul would amicably rewind to the Red Carpet segment if I missed it. No longer having a forward-moving agenda, I looked back and saw that the Oreos and buns man was right in line behind me. Inhaling a Zen-like attitude, I acknowledged his presence and didn’t care at all about what he was choosing to buy and eat.
Things remained stuck at the register. That man was trying to insert his credit card in different ways and had tried different pin numbers which then led to the transaction being declined. The cashier called for help. Two managers arrived at the scene. I began to try to see if I could see what the man was doing wrong–thinking that I might prove helpful. The Oreos and bun man then spoke up, and said, “Try this.” I turned and saw that he was holding out his credit card to pay for the no more than fourteen groceries being held hostage in one bag.
I was surprised by the kind gesture and wondered how long I would have stood there without a similar solution. I said to him, “Wow, that is really nice of you.” “How much could it be, $20?”, he replied. It took a moment for the troubled customer to take in the offer but he appreciatively waved it away as he pulled out another credit card from his wallet. The manager affirmed that this card would not require a pin for payment–and the transaction was approved. I did not see the total amount.
In no time, we were all back in the flow. The man who’d had the problem looked at me and said, “These things are complicated sometimes.” I smiled at him and agreed that was so. Next, having paid, in cash, for my own purchases, I turned to the Oreos and buns man and wished some blessing on him in return for his good deed.
Back home, I squeezed, zested and whisked those little lemons into a lovely curd with a nice dose of some white sugar. Tres bon. I spooned the curd into two cute little Oui Yogurt jars to carry over to the gathering. And to hasten my arrival, brought the cream with me and whipped it there–no sugar added, just a touch of vanilla. Janet and Paul served up a light repast of delicious crepes and other goodies.
It was a very nice evening even though I did miss the Red Carpet and lost at the category voting game. I laughed and cried. Animal-rights activist and vegan Joaquin Phoenix won for Best Actor and asked us to be kind, to give second chances, and to not hurt animals which I am sure has sparked some controversy. But largely, all was well at the Academy Awards.
I thought about the guy who had cared to help his fellow shopper. He deserved a little award too. He showed me that good actions speak louder than patient waiting.
Notes to self–Do not judge people by the color of their flour and sugar– nor their proclivity to Oreos; and when life gives you curds, make lemon curd.
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C’est la vie, Elyn
Related Nutrition Information: Health Benefits of Lemons by LiveScience/World’s Healthiest Foods
My Plate Poem
Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
from the tree’s planetarium.
by Pablo (Neruda)‘
Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.
by River (Phoenix)