Grocery Store Tales IV

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When we were newly married, Ray and I met a couple at church. The Mrs. was the first person I remember meeting who was “into” healthy living. This was something of a curiosity to us back in 1976. One day one of us two inexperienced young adults (I’m not saying which one of us) said to her, “I hear that you are a health nut.”

She replied, “Enthusiast.”

Now thirty-eight years later, we are health enthusiasts, too. Gone are the days when grocery shopping was simple. Now I shop for a pretty big percentage of our food from some place other than a grocery store. I buy a little online and a lot from three different Tennessee farmers. One of my friends generously organizes what is needed for several of us to buy from a food co-op out of Atlanta, and another orders cheese in bulk from a dairy farmer in Ohio. I, with thumbs that are anything but green, even grow a few herbs myself.

parsley, chives and thyme edited
Thyme, Parsley, Chives, and Mr. Nobby Gnome

Gone are the days when I was expecting our third child and started doing major grocery shopping only once a month. I decided then that weekly trips to the grocery store with three kids would be too hard. Once-a-month shopping worked for boxes of macaroni, packages of hot dogs, tubs of corn oil margarine, and cans of all kinds of things. It wouldn’t work so well for the way we eat now.

These days I buy coconut oil online and read labels at the grocery store in an attempt to find olive oil that really is olive oil, but, back in the day, I used corn oil. When we first moved to Smallville, I asked a supermarket employee where to find the oil. Having lived the previous eight years up north, I guess I had lost a bit of my Southern accent. That might surprise people who know me now that I have been back in the South for twenty years; the accent definitely came back!

Try as I might, the employee could not understand what I wanted. We stood in the aisle, volleying back and forth. I’d say, “Oil,” and he’d say, “What?” Finally, I realized that I needed to reach back to my youth and say it like he expected. We Southerners sometimes take a simple word and make it longer and more complicated. Take mi-lk, for instance, or we-ll. But, sometimes we run the letters of a word together and make up a new sound. Take oil, for instance.

When I finally said, “Uhl,” this Southern gentleman showed me right where to find it.

Sometimes we–husbands and wives, parents and children–don’t speak the same language, do we? Sometimes we keep saying the same thing in the same way and we just don’t get through. Sometimes one person has to stop and think a minute: how can I say what I want to say in a way that my hearer can understand me?

Let your speech always be with grace,
as though seasoned with salt,
so that you will know
how you should respond to each person.
Colossians 4:6, NASB

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