Poor in a Grocery Store

You don’t need to recall it – I recall it everyday. My right arm and shoulder have sustained multiple injuries, so I refrain from carrying a heavy purse when I’m required to ‘walk-a-ways’ (a Midwestern vernacular term I haven’t shed, despite living in CA for near-forty years).

I have a mini-suitcase purse. It’s blue like the pictured purse with pockets galore. A designated place for my cellphone, keys, sunglasses, cosmetics, a small tablet, and pens. An organized wallet with slots for credit cards, club cards that earn points – even my library card from 1978, which gets re-declared an antique each time I check out a library book. Yes, it’s brittle with snippets broken from its plastic, but I cherish its presence in my life.

But, with all of the ‘necessaries’ I stash in my purse – including a checkbook which loudly flashes my near-dinosaur age each time I retrieve it to pay, my purse weighs eight pounds. A real drag that obviates prolonged carry on my shoulder or arm. It’s not a choice, it’s a must.

So, on quick jaunts, I carry a mini-purse. While it carries the sunglasses required for our ever-present sun, it carries no cards and little cash.

Imagine my embarrassment when I realized I carried little to help me pay for “bananas and a vegetable for our meal tonight”, the agreement I made while my husband pursued another chore at the corner strip mall.

During the inflationary cycles that have zigzagged the economy during our married life, I laid aside looking at cost of necessary grocery items. While bread has climbed for forty cents to near four dollars during my married life, I abandoned a desire for what couldn’t be had: a cheaper price. Now I looked, stunned, at the price of fresh fruits and vegetables, most at $2.49, which was four dimes more than I had!

I cruised the aisles, checking more prices, and mulling the consequences of being poor in this great country. Even breakfast cereal, the Seinfeld standard, was four bucks. How could single mothers survive without guilt for what they could not provide?

I was able to purchase a couple of stalk of broccoli and a couple of bananas, achieving my immediate goal, relying on second grad math.

But, as soon as I was able, with credit cards in hand, I purchased hundreds of dollars worth of $30 Walmart gift cards to donate and share my wealth. Good health isn’t achievable without it.

“Do all the good you can, to every one you can, every way you can, every day you can, as long as you ever can.” – John Wesley, the founder of my faith.

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