I saw Isabel in the parking lot yesterday afternoon. A small, middle-aged Latina who reminds me of how long we have lived in this town.
When we first moved to Davis, we were happy to note that a Lucky's grocery store was just a few blocks away. I began shopping there regularly, and Isabel was a bagger. She always had a big smile on her face and a cheery greeting.
Later, I was pleased to note that she had moved on to a checker, no longer handling the heavy bags, but firmly ensconced behind the cash register. Still later, it was more difficult to reach the cash register because of the baby belly sticking out in front of her.
Lucky's went through changes. During the height of the start of the movement for marriage equality in California, when gay couples were trying to win the right to marry, there was a big "marriage" announcement, when supermarket Lucky's "married" supermarket Albertson's. Apparently Albertson's was the leader, since Lucky's was absorbed and we now shopped at Albertson's. I was so angry with that foolish bit of publicity, since it seemed to easy to supermarkets to marry each other when real life gay couples were struggling to win the right to do the same thing.
Albertson's was our market for several years, as I watched Isabel get older, her child getting older too. Then one day Albertson's disappeared and it was now Save Mart. Same store, same employees, but different attitude. Save Mart seems...I don't know..."tired." If you aren't quick with loading your groceries onto the belt, they assume you want groceries packed in plastic bags. That's almost a mortal sin here in ecology-conscious Davis, where even paper is not the ideal and lots of people bring their own reusable bags.
Save Mart makes a big deal about customers checking out and bagging their own groceries (where paper is not even an option). In the early morning hours, you can't find a checker and have to do your own groceries. Isabel is frequently the employee who is there to make sure you do it right. Every time I make the mistake of shopping too early in the day, I get angry with myself as I grumble through trying to pack groceries as compactly as Isabel does.
I sometimes forget that next year we will have lived in Davis for 40 years, but when I look at Isabel and see how she has aged, I realize that we are now part of the "new-oldtimers."
I went to my mother's yesterday, to bring her the stuff I'd bought for her in Europe and show her 100 of our >1000 photos from the trip (about as much as I figured she could sit through). We had a nice visit. Her memory wasn't as bad as I feared it would be, though I heard the story of how she came to work for Hospice of Marin four different times. She confuses it, now, with getting a job with Bank of America, and forgets that she wasn't living with my father at the time she started working with Hospice. But Hospice has been a huge part of her life since 1976 and so it's understandable. She has made some of her best friends working all these years at the Hospice thrift shop. Her Mah Jong group has been a big part of her social life for so many years and it was a big shock when one of the members suddenly died in her sleep a couple of weeks ago. Another member is sinking into Alzheimers, and sadly, the Mah Jong group is no more.
She fixed a toasted cheese sandwich for me for lunch and burned the bread badly. I told her charcoal was good for you, and choked it down, following it with an ice cream cone to help overcome the burned taste.
As I sat there talking to her, I realized that I could hardly keep my eyes opened, so I decided to take a nap, which I did, for about an hour. It helped tremendously.
I drove home, inching along through bumper to bumper traffic for a time, stopping at one of my favorite places to take photos of some of the rotting boats, which have been sitting there for years.
By the time I returned home, I was into Part 7 of the 7-part recording of Diana Gabaldon's "The Fiery Cross," so happy that the end of this great audio book is finally in sight.
I was so exhausted after dinner that I went to sleep at 9 and slept through until 6 this morning. It wasn't a full day, but apparently big enough to wear me out.