Tonight was grocery shopping night. I take country roads to the highway, winding past century farms and the most dilapitated yet darling mobile home park. Everything looks like a Norman Rockwell painting covered in the recent snow. I almost cannot bear the charm when I see children sledding down a pasture hill dotted with black cows. It’s taken me reaching the halfway point in life to appreciate the magnitude of the blessing that is America.
My solo trips to the grocery stores are a pleasure to me. I listen to my Spotify playlist louder than I would dare if Fox were in the car, I suck on hard ginger candies, and sink into my Subaru’s heated leather seat. What else could you possibly want? Driving is a supreme pleasure of its own, but that’s for another entry.
I usually have at least two stores to go to, but tonight I have three. A big box store, a bulk warehouse, and a local health food market. I stop at a red light exiting the highway and am struck with emotion when I see a huge American flag whipping in the cold winter winds. Its red and white stripes extra bold against the white snow background. It’s moments like these where I pause to say a little prayer for my extreme luck having been born here. The light turns green.
The shelves are stocked at all of the stores. I’m a little annoyed that the health food store has quit carrying the giant glass jugs of spring water that we drink. I’ll have to get the smaller bottles today. I’ve bought one too many ready made meals at the warehouse store and make a mental note to cook some new recipes soon. My Ugg boots clap against the tile floor keeping a rhythm, and I pick up the pace remembering Mark will have the beef stroganoff ready soon.
Back home, I walk into the house and inhale the scent of a tasty dinner about to be served. I kiss my boys and then have the satisfying task of putting the groceries away. What a life, isn’t it? Enjoying music, filling up a grocery cart, and even driving a car. I hang up my down coat and change into joggers, a tank top, and my sweater cardigan. “Can I help you set the table?” I ask Mark.
My son inspects the Hot Wheels fire truck I tossed in the cart ,on a whim, at my last stop. He is still young enough to enjoy adding to his collection. I’m painfully aware that his childhood is flying by. Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day. We are going to go see a movie in the afternoon. Mark has the day off and school is out; it’s the perfect opportunity. At dinner earlier this week Fox informed us that things aren’t the same as they were in the olden days. He explained that white people and brown people couldn’t go to the same schools. It gave me a sick feeling in my stomach thinking of his innocence being chipped away at by the learning of American history. I could tell he doesn’t understand and I didn’t feel ready to explain. Soon enough.
These simple, ordinary days. Living in America. These really are the days.