Its hard to shake a routine once it gets stuck into the fiber of your being. One such routine was my Friday morning ritual of going Space Center Overnight Camp grocery shopping.
For 22 years, I use to go shopping early Friday morning to pick up the food and supplies for that weekend's Overnight Camp. I shopped at American Fork's Albertsons when the Space Center first opened. Pleasant Grove's Smiths was the next business blessed to have Space Center trade and Lindon's Walmart was the last.
My Space Center routines were embedded with other routines.
Friday Space Center Shopping Routine:
1. Arrive at Walmart at 7:10 A.M.
2. Get a shopping cart, hoping it wasn't one with a gimpy wheel. Walmart likes
to file a flat spot onto one wheel of many of their shopping carts. They do it to
discourage the homeless from stealing carts and turning them into permanent
transportable storage containers. 80% of the time I'd get the crippled cart,
making me easily found anywhere in the grocery lanes.
3. First stop, fruit. Bananas, clementines and apples.
4. Second stop, doughnuts and cookies. I'd order seven dozen for
Saturday morning's breakfast. I also picked up four dozen cookies to add to
the evening's snack.
5. Third stop, ice cream sandwiches. MeadowGold were the best.
6. Fourth Stop, paper towels,napkins and 9oz cups.
The Great Values brand towels divided into half lengths are the best. 9 oz
plastic cups are preferred. It takes less juice to fill them - hence lowering
the cost of your liquids. Remember, a few pennies saved here and there will
eventually lead up to a new simulator (over a very very very very long period
of time of course).
7. Fifth stop, Dairy. Gogurts, Sunny Delight, milk and chocolate milk are a must
for a well balanced Space Center breakfast.
8. Final stop, Day Old Rack. You'd be surprised what you find on the Bakery's
Day Old Rack (kept inconveniently at the back of the store in the Dairy
Section). All Staff and Volunteer snacks were found on the Day Old Rack.
They knew to ignore the yellow sticker and be thankful for small blessings.
My routine included checking out with my favorite cashiers (if their lines were reasonably short). My Walmart friends and I would catch up on the week's news as they scanned my purchases. Every shopping trip ended with a friendly, "See ya next week."
I've kept that Friday morning Walmart routine despite the Space Center's closure. I do it because it gives me a sense of normalcy in uncertain times. It also lets me keep in touch with the friends I've made over the years.
This morning I walked into the store and said "hello," to the usual, somewhat friendly, door greeter
"How's the Space Center doing?" she asked with a quick salute.
"Down, but not out," I answered.
"That's good," she replied.
I bypassed the shopping carts and went straight to the candy isle to pick up a bag of Tootsie Rolls (bribes for my math students). Before checking out, I picked up a package of Jack Link's Premium Cuts Jalapeno Carne Seca Beef Jerky and a Diet Mr. Dew for myself.
I scanned the checkout stands looking for a short line with a familiar face.
"Mr. Williamson, I'm open," I heard one of the cashiers say. I looked down two registers and saw a cashier friend I hadn't seen for quite awhile.
A year ago this cashier told me she had breast cancer. She said she would be going on an extended sick leave for treatment. She explained the chemo treatment and its side effects. She expressed her worries about the medical bills. She tried to keep things positive, but her eyes said differently.
That was one year ago. Today I found her back at work, manning her till. She looked tired. Her hair was growing back and her smile and laugh were just as I had remembered. We only spoke for a moment; others were waiting in line. She said her treatment was successful. She was cancer free.
"How has surviving cancer affected you?" I asked. I wondered if the question was too personal right after I had asked it. I didn't want to pry.
She thought for a moment. I could tell it was a questioned she wasn't asked often.
"I've learned to appreciate each day and take them as they come," She replied as she handed me my receipt. "Things don't get me down as much as they use to."
"Its something we all need to learn," I replied. "I'll see you next week. Take care."
"Have a great day," she answered.
That brief conversation with my cashier friend put things into context. I realized I had to learn not to stress over things out of my control. I had to learn not to dwell on the bad, because things could either get better or worse. I had to learn to count my blessings and enjoy each day. I needed to stop and notice the small and simple things in life.
It was a lesson I needed. Thank you my friend.
And Now, the Imaginarium
A poor man's four wheeler.
What a view from that swingset
A waterpark: Imagination A.
Perfect Christmas Gifts.
Two true random acts of holiday kindness.
Do a random act of kindness for someone this holiday season.
The Formula for Hate.
A Map of Wonderland.
Where would you make your home?
Something for your baby this holiday season.
Worthy of a holiday smile or two.
My membership application is in the mail.
A software company's Christmas Tree
I'll buy season tickets to this theater.