A WINTER’S TALE

Sometimes I think that the ten years we spent in Clarion, Pennsylvania was a blessing, and sometimes a penance for something that I had done wrong. Looking back, I can remember some of the grand things that occurred and sometimes I think that I had a black cloud over my head like that character in Al Capp’s Lil’ Abner, Joe Bfstkyxk. Anyway, with all of the happenings during those ten years, one stands out in my mind.
Clarion was beautiful in the spring (about two weeks) and autumn (the same). The leaves were so beautiful that we had an Autumn Leaf Festival with about 100k people visiting. During the summer and winter, the weather was not acceptable. I can remember two weeks in a frigid winter where the temperature did not rise above 20 below zero. At that point having kids, especially our special education children, waiting for a bus,at home with frozen blood in my veins and arteries. I trudged from my car to the front door and moped my way in. Somehow I remember that it was a Wednesday evening at about 5:00 p.m. As I walked into the house, Carol said, “We have nothing in the house to eat.” That was a customary kind of thing since Carol was working and the kids were both in college. She looked at me in a pleading way. I could not resist.
“Do you want me to go out and get some things,” I asked warily. “That would be nice,” she said coquettishly. I did not even have to take my coat off. I dutifully went out the door got into my still warm car and drove to the only “real” supermarket in town, the County Market in the shopping mall along route 80. I trudged through the snow and ice laden parking lot and entered the market and grabbed the nearest shopping cart.
I said hello to the owner of the County Market, Gary Nader, who was in Rotary with me. I went down the first aisle, which, I remember, was filled with coffee and tea and that sort of thing. As I turned to go around to the next aisle, I noticed an elderly woman staring at me. She quickly went around the next aisle so that I could not see her.
I really had no idea what I wanted to get, so I just stuck by hand out as I went by things and threw them into the shopping cart. As I turned into the next few aisles, the elderly woman continued to stare at me and quickly disappeared into the next turn.
I was getting a little suspicious about what was happening, so I sped up and caught up with her at the next turn. “What is wrong ma’am,” I asked. She looked down at her shoes and with a tear in her eye told me that I was a double for her son. He has perished in the Korean War. She was so sorry that she had disturbed me. I told her that I really didn’t mind. After a few more lines of conversation, we kind of warmed up to each other. She was a delightful person.
She looked at me with her searching eyes and asked me if she could call me son. I was startled by her question, but said, “Sure, I don’t mnd.” She gave me a hug and pushed her cart down the next aisle.
I concluded my shopping tour, anxious to get home and attack some of the food that I had purchased. I pulled up to the cash register. I was two people behind the elderly woman. She waved gaily to me and “Good bye son.” I answered, “So long mom.”
I waited my turn and as the items were processed through the register, the clerk announced my total as $125.56. I looked at the meager number of items that I had purchased and said to the clerk that there must be some mistake. The clerk said, “I included your mother’s items in the total.” All at once it dawned on me. I had been the victim of a scam. I left all of my items at the register and bolted out of the market doors.
I spied the elderly lady at the far end of the parking lot. She was depositing her ill-gotten gains in the trunk of her car. I ran as fast as I could disregarding all of the ice and snow. As I got close to her car, I slipped on the ice, just as her leg was entering the vehicle. I pulled on her leg, as I am pulling on yours.

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4 thoughts on “A WINTER’S TALE

    • Glad you enjoyed it. I am still pondering what to do with my blogs. You certainly inspired me with the book that you had made. I wrote to Diane Ravich about a literary agent. That’s usually the first step. Will see what she suggests. The advantage of having a blog is that everyone can read it before it gets to be on a written page or in an e-book.

      Arnold

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