June 3 – (continued yet again!) The day following, we did go to HyVee’s for a buffet meal, but not the way we had planned it! Richard would not even listen with one ear to our desire to foot the bill, but he said, ”We are treating you, and that’s that!”Now why are we partial to HyVee’s food? There we can get more than enough of the foods we like, without having to choose meat dishes (we have been vegetarians all our lives), and bits and pieces of all we want to choose. So many salads, cottage cheese, pasta, and all kinds of fruit: bananas, melons, peaches, blackberries, pears, and strawberries, and watermelon. The only trouble with the buffet table is that so many items look delicious that I want to try more than I can really enjoy when they’re all together. Of course, since we loaded our plates and bowls just the night before at our house, there wasn’t enough room to just try what looked so good.
After our meal, we did a little shopping at Price Chopper where so many of the folks who work there have become good friends. We usually spend more time talking with them and giving them hugs than we do looking through the well-stocked shelves (since we have already made out our grocery list at home). Jennifer, Robbie, Cheryl, Kim, Teri, Scot, Will, Zach, Lenita, and Bessie are always friendly and check to make sure we are feeling well. It’s always sad for us to walk by the check-outs and remember that we won’t be seeing Sheila at her post. Unfortunately, she fell and banged up her knee months ago and hasn’t been able to return. In fact, she has decided, with the help of her family, to retire.I think Sheila knew everyone who ever came into the store, greeting most of them by name and asking about their families. Once, when Dale and I were at the back of the store talking with several of the workers, the manager came by. Quickly I apologized, saying it was my fault that the folks weren’t doing their job right then. I can still remember his answer, maybe because I agreed with it so heartily. “No problem,” he said. “These workers should be friendly to our customers along with stocking shelves, preparing fresh fruits and vegetables, or working in the office. I’m always glad when I see this sort of thing going on in our store!”
“Well, thanks a lot for understanding,” I replied. “Here’s a hug for you, too!” I couldn’t tell who was more surprised, the boss or the employees, but there were big grins all around.
While all of this was going on and we were introducing Richard and Linda to our friends, the looks of surprise from our California guests became more and more frequent. It was easy to see that they were not only surprised, but happy to be part of the action. I think that at first they could handle it, but by the time they had met worker after worker, and had received big hugs from everyone, they didn’t quite understand. Several times they said, “I think you must know everybody IN here!”About an hour later, we were on our way to the Thrift Store, where our friends Bobbi, Susan, and Lois are interested in every visitor to the store. Why did we go there with Linda and Richard? As we were talking about that place, Linda’s eyes shone, and she said, ”Aunt Sis, can we go there? I love thrift stores, even if I just browse and don’t find anything to buy. But it seems as if I always do purchase something. It’s just fun to go!” About an hour later, after each of us had looked through items we were interested in, we took our “finds” to the desk. “I really liked this part of the day,” Linda said, “and the stuff’s cheaper than in California, too!” – CHRIS