Are We There Yet?

August 6-12, 2018

By Jay Edwards


Well, as you would expect, with a new neighborhood comes a new grocery store. Actually, it’s still a Kroger, just a smaller, older model of its western cousin’s mega-self.


I had not been in the Heights Kroger in years, and made my way there last week for some essentials, like Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, Häagen Dazs Chocolate and a six-pack of the most interesting beer in the world.


The store itself seemed old and small to me, which comes from my frame of reference of the Highway 10 and Chenal stores, where shampoos get a whole aisle to themselves and you can shop early for your winter wardrobe or buy new furniture for your den.


It was the middle of a weekday, after my writers block caved to the first procrastinator’s delusion of any made up emergency, like ice cream, that would free me from those stark white pages and the light hum of my mocking monitor.


So I bolted out the door and soon found myself rounding the end of an aisle, pushing my squeaky cart right into the afternoon’s first blockade.


There were three of them, grand dames of one of Little Rock’s presidentially or hardwood named streets. They looked at me and I froze, and began quickly planning my embarrassing retreat, back to the TV dinners.


Then they all grinned and began moving their carts so I could get by. “Sorry to break up the party ladies,” I cheerfully told them, holding out some ridiculous notion of an invitation to join bridge club or at least an afternoon of high tea.


“Your always welcome to the party as long as you bring something next time,” one said to me.


A good sign, I thought, and told her I certainly would.


It brought back a memory from the spring of 1999, when Fred, Claude, Guy and I were at the Masters. It was our second day, and the final round. Fred and I had completed our jog and secured our spots on the rope at 12 tee, the heart of Amen Corner. Fred said he was going to head back to the gift shop for another shirt, to go with the six he’d bought the day before. “One for each day of the week?” I asked. “Why not,” he said, and headed off.


When he got back he told me that he had come upon an elderly gentleman who seemed out of breath, leaning up against one of the giant oaks near the cabins. “And he was wearing a green jacket,” Fred said.


“So what did you do?”


“I went over to him and asked if he needed some help. He asked me if I could walk him back to his cabin, which wasn’t far, so I did. As we walked he introduced himself as Mr. Fleming, and I began fantasizing that to reward my Good Samaritan act, he would offer me the guest room in his cabin and invite me to play 18 the next day.


“That’s quite a fantasy,” I said.


“You have no idea, by the time we got back to his cabin, I was sure he would want to adopt me.”


I laughed and asked what really happened.


“He said thanks and walked in the cabin and shut the door.”


So that was kind of how I felt with the Heights grocery gang I’d run into. But it’s not like I’m totally unfamiliar with ladies who have names like Muffin and Boots. My own aunt had lived over on Hawthorne. Her name was Daisy Bell Norwood but we all called her Dixie.


That should impress the ladies at Bridge Club.


  • Jay Edwards
    Jay Edwards