Tuesday, April 18, 2006

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME
When Wil was four, and his sister, Lucy, was in first grade, he insisted that each morning after dropping her off at school, we went directly to Safeway. I'm going to say this went on for six months or more. And, I'm sorry, did I say each morning after we dropped her off? You probably took that to mean we only adhered to this routine Monday through Friday, and that would be Wrong with a capital W! Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays too! We were at Safeway by 9:00 AM each and every day! "Surely, not Christmas," you're now saying to yourself. Well, wrong again! But here's the thing, Safeway is not open on Christmas! And this was not what we counted on. Wil's Christmas, and ours as a result, was ruined that year. He didn't give a rip that at home there were presents from Santa. He was not allowed entry into his lair, and this was unacceptable.
The only thing that made this daily trek tolerable at first, eventually making it delightful, was the wonderful morning crew at Safeway. We had Marlies, Lonnie, Carmen, Carla, Kelly and Larry. Over in pharmacy we had Michael, Lynda, Demitria and Jake. The butcher, produce manager, bakery and deli ladies all were quite charming, as well.
"Hi, Wil!" shot out the voices the minute we entered the premises.
"Bye, Wil!" was heard as we departed.
When my daughter was in second grade her class took a tour of Safeway, and Wil and I went along. To this day that class remembers going to Safeway, where everybody knew Wil. I'm not sure what they learned about the grocery business, but they learned that there was a place on earth that embraced Lucy's quirky little brother.
When that phase ended, Wil began a phase of not wanting to leave the house, except to go to school. We're still in that phase, and I can't get him to go to Safeway now for all the tea in China.
His friends miss him, they ask about him all the time. I always report that "Wil is great," and that's true, he is great.
Over the years these people that first reached out to me as a mother at her wits end, have become friends of mine. We know each other on a personal level now, sharing secrets, heartaches, and the joys that go with living.
I arrived at Safeway yesterday and "my gal", Marlies was not checking. Instantly I heard Lonnie call on the intercom, "Check, Marlies, please check."
Marlies came out of nowhere, opened up a lane that was closed, helped me get my cart unloaded, then closed the lane again. As we chatted it up two customers tried to wedge through the obstacle she had placed to indicate she was closed.
"I'm sorry, this lane is closed," she said.
Yes, closed for most people, but not for me. I never thought it would be a national grocery chain with which I'd discover unconditional love and full acceptance for my special child, but it was, and it is, and I am forever grateful.

6 comments:

Marlies said...

Carrie,you are a very special Person in my Life.Thank you so much for being my Friend

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Michelle O'Neil said...

Carrie,

What a beautiful piece.I was having such a "crappy" day. It really helped remind me of all the goodness in the world. Thank you!

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