Monday, October 12, 2009

A day of wonder in second childhood

First off, it's impossible to find time to think undisturbed. It's about 1:00 and I just sat down to write up this day of wonder. And almost immediately that possibly winter damned little woodpecker came back and started tapping at the patio door window and shamelessly displaying to his reflection. Yesterday he woke me up, very thoughfully just before the alarm went off, by tapping on the bedroom window. All the little buddies he was playing around with last week are gone. They may already be headed south. You had better give up with the windows guy, and get your backside south. It's getting cold.

Maybe he listened to me. He's gone now so I can get back to the events so far of the day.

Jas, who is off work because of Columbus Day, called at about 9:30 to ask if I wanted to go out and play. Of course I did; so he came by after stopping at the drugstore. While I was waiting for him I started two pounds of great northern beans on low. The package directions call for simmering them only a couple of hours after soaking them overnight; but I like them mostly disintegrated for Pasta Fagiole, so those beans are still over there slow cooking.

After Jas arrived we went over to the big new playground that just opened and took a couple of hour walk through the Wegman's and then through the Best Buy which are pretty much the only stores open over there at this point. The Wegmans is enormous! And it has friendly people giving out sample snacks here and there, which the little dusty playgrounds of my first childhood did not have. And even if those old time playgrounds had had people giving out snacks they would certainly not have included samples of buttery brie on bread. Very good brie, and the nice lady insisted on giving us some even after we told her we weren't shopping but only walking around.

As we were walking down one of the aisles I heard an old woman exclaiming to her buddy about the price of the gourmet cat food she was looking at. Once we were out of earshot Jas mentioned that she probably drove ten miles to price out the cat food the way Mom and Aunt Mary used to run around to all the stores buying this here and that there. Mom and Aunt Mary never bought catfood though. Cats ate leftover people food back in those days.

Old people sure are funny. They've got all the time in the world to go around doing stuff like strolling around five acre supermarkets eating free samples and checking prices. Which reminds me, I noticed that Wegmans sells the big bottles of soda for 89 cents, which is a lot better price than prevails at Redners where the best you can do, even on sale, is a buck a bottle. Not that I would save any money by going to Wegmans to shop. The place is positively filled with enticing stuff that is not priced at 89 cents and I'm an impulse shopper even when not hungry.

There is, for instance, and olive bar that has selections you don't even see down at the cheese and olive store in the Italian Market down in Philly. I could easily spend twenty bucks at that olive bar after I save 11 cents on a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew.

And Wegmans has five kinds of caviar. Imagine that, caviar for sale right here in Collegeville. And most of that caviar isn't even expensive. Four of the caviar varieties are bargains at only $5.17 an ounce; a pretty darn good price compared to the 28 bucks and change that they want for an ounce of the one expensive variety. Caviar for poor folks. I'm sure only really rich people buy that expensive caviar. Regular guys like me and Jas would never pay that outrageous price. We would stick to the cheaper stuff.

And the produce section! What a thrill that was for two kids who worked at Harry's Potato Market back in our first childhood. That was back when we told people to please don't squeeze the tomatoes displayed under the big cardboard sign that said "FLORDIA TOMATS - 3 lbs FOR 50 (CENTS)".

I put that "CENTS" in parentheses because this darn computer doesn't have a key for the little "cents" symbol. I'll bet Wegmans has computers that have a key for the "cents" symbol; and I'll betcha dollars to donuts they have somebody who knows how to reliably spell "Florida" as well - or maybe they have a spell checker on their computers. Harry apparently didn't have a spell checker on his computer, and he didn't trouble to use me or Jas or Sam or Patty as spell checkers when he made up signs. We laughed about that Flordia sign every year for three or four years when Harry took it out each fall after the last of the local tomatoes were gone.

Harry's computer used to do other funny things. One time, for instance, he priced the figs for individual sale at far less than their bulk cost. Which didn't much matter anyway because there was a lot of shrinkage of those figs. . . a very lot of shrinkage. Harry himself liked them quite a bit, and we did too. Working at Harry's had very few perks; but one of those was eating all of the fruit you could possibly want to eat. It was accepted practice, for instance that the last watermelon off the truck simply had to be dropped, not far enough to make it mushy, but far enough to make it needful of cutting up.

But back to Wegmans. They have fruits and vegetables in their produce section that I haven't seen since I walked through the outdoor markets of Singapore and Hong Kong and Bangkok back when live monkeys were to be had in out of the way places, and not for pets. And, even forgetting about the exotic stuff, there are brussel sprouts still on the stem, about fifteen varieties of lettuce and an aisle of different types of tomatoes that has more shelf space than Harry's whole potato market. The most impressive thing is that they have all of those fruits and vegetables in both normal form for people who eat normal fruits and vegetables, and in super high priced organic form for the kind of people who turn their noses up at cheap caviar and insist on the 28 buck an ounce variety. And the milk! Don't even get me started on the milk except to say that they have at least three big milk sections scattered around that store.

Not that I had a lot of time to pay proper attention to the milk sections. As always Jas was in a hurry, just like he always was back in first childhood. Now, as then, he even wastes time in a hurry. He was always a few steps ahead of me and making me feel guilty for not moving along fast enough. So now I'm going to have to go back to Wegmans one day to see if one of their milk sections is like their produce section. At this point I can only report that it will not surprise me one bit if I find that they have goat and camel and yak milk, all in both normal and organic varieties.

More later. . . I have some stuff to do for tonight's Pasta e' Fagioli. My next post will start "After we left the Wegmans. . ." That next post will include the thrilling tale of our stroll through Best Buy and our brief stop at the big new Wawa, along with the events that led up to our visiting Dave at his little camp in the woods and then coming upon Dan, who was refueling his chainsaw, and getting his opinion of the french fries at the place we were walking to for lunch.

No comments: