For the last few days, I’ve been wrestling with thoughts. Jumbled, mixed up and confusing thoughts. I could not articulate so even I could understand let alone talk these thoughts out with someone else. I decided to put them aside and just get out and do a little holiday shopping today.
Okay, holiday shopping is a misnomer. I was actually running errands that in some distant way connect to the holidays. That is more accurate. What that meant was I would be running from store to store, looking for little minuscule things I needed to complete decorations or boxes for mailing packages or whatever.
Regardless, I was off.
First stop was Target. I needed birthday cards and Christmas cards and a couple of replacement bulbs. Of course, as soon as I entered the store I was confronted by the very neat Starbucks with NO ONE in line.
I ordered a skinny peppermint mocha latte. I mean, if you’re going to shop in 40-degree weather, one should have a warm beverage to hold — right? The young barista was quick to deliver this nectar to me and I was off shopping. Such a happy girl!
I looked at Christmas decorations I did not need and candy I did not need and art supplies I did not need. Such fun! Then I remembered I needed to get my grandson’s birthday present so I was off to the toy department. By this time I was feeling a bit ‘off’ — a little woozy. I chatted briefly with my son, looked at books and perused the dvds.
That’s when I started feeling lightheaded again. Then it hit me. CAFFEINE. Ha! I have not had caffeinated coffee in months. I had been so fixated on ordering my coffee ‘just so’ I failed to mention I wanted decaf. My bad. At least that explained the wooziness I was feeling.
I had mundane errands for the rest of the afternoon, running in and out of stores. Most of the department stores are in a sad state here. Products are low quality and high priced. Shelves are not restocked and merchandise is displayed helter-skelter around the stores. Not like the old days — before malls.
I thought of my grandmother and how meticulous she was in her shopping. I loved to go to the grocery store with her. In the middle of the store, raised up from the rest of the store was the butcher shop. I remember how discerning my grandmother was about the cuts of meat she ordered. I always loved watching the butcher in his white apron pull the white paper off the huge metal roller and then wrap and label each cut. Such a distinct memory!
Then I remembered the year my Dad gave each of us kids (four of us) $5 each to buy presents for him and mom. He took us to Montgomery Ward. Five dollars didn’t go very far even back then, but I found an old metal combination key rack and letter organizer.
I cannot remember the last time I was in a Montgomery Ward. It might have been when I bought my first (very humongous) microwave oven and cart. They were almost too big for a kitchen counter!
But my favorite shopping of all was when we went downtown. We often ate at the Woolworth lunch counter. Toys were often purchased at the Ben Franklin 5-10. It was always cold and most of the stores were too fancy for us kids, but it was still fun to walk in and out of the stores and see the town all decorated for Christmas — what a great memory.
When I returned home hubby was here after his day of jury duty. I warmed up some chili I took out of the freezer last night and we had dinner together. Then our daughters called for a quick video chat with our granddaughter. We talked to our grandson and congratulated him for being inducted into the National Honor Society. Then we turned the lights on the Christmas tree, turned on our various lighted decorations and I started to write my blog.
The funny thing is, the thought I was wrestling with this morning has melted away and no longer seems to matter. I think when we dwell on things and over analyze them, they grow larger than life. A little breathing room and a little time away help us gain perspective and balance.
“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out,
it’s the little pebble in your shoe.”
8 thoughts on “Looking Inward”
I love your reflections about memories of shopping at long-gone stores. I have those, too.
Glad they helped erase the experience of your earlier shopping — my idea of not fun at all — I’m grateful not to have to do any shopping for gifts over the holidays — all of my relatives have everything they need, and my hubbie has been happily picking out his birthday present for weeks now — a new bike that has wider tires….perfect for rough paths as well as roads.
We do a relatively small amount of shopping now — just for the grandchildren. Today was more a case of needing to get out of the house. Times have definitely changed! Sounds like you and your hubby are much like we are as far as gift-giving. Makes it easier…
I go for the tea at Starbucks, while Himself favors their coffee.
Right now it’s a contest between their hot chocolate and their Chai eggnog lattes…both of which I’m working to enjoy In Moderation!
I will say the peppermint hot chocolate is very tasty as well.
Victoria, we go so rarely these days. When we lived in a more urban area, it was a frequent (and expensive) habit. Now it is reserved as a rare treat. I do love the holiday flavors!
I love that your day turned out to be one of accomplishment. I totally agree that gifts are not as important anymore. Mainly I buy for the grand kids. This year is special as I am celebrating my retirement. I am happy to share my holidays with those who bring me joy.
I don’t do coffee or tea, but Starbucks hot chocolate at 195 degrees is heaven to me.
I hope your celebration of retirement brings you great joy. It is a new phase of life for sure. I must admit I am a fan of hot chocolate, too. Especially on a cold evening!
What memories your post has brought to mind. I’ve been remembering the scent of real Christmas trees. When my sister Lizzie and I were little, we had a tree with tinsel and those bubbling candlelights. Then on Christmas morning, there were new dollies for each of us, buggies to port them about, and other things. The Christmas scene in Godfather 2 where Michael and Kay are shopping brings back those memories.
We don’t put tinsel or icecicles on our trees anymore, but I love a tree decorated that way! And the smell is so evocative of times past. What nice memories you have.. I, too, often got a new doll for Christmas. My favorite was Chatty Cathy!
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