Several seniors and others called me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that the Jewel Food Store on Chicago Avenue had returned a bench to the protective area near the entrance.  Now it was just like old times and was very much appreciated.  A thank you went out to Jewel management.

A few days before Thanksgiving, one of my favorite neighbors drove me and a friend to the Food 4 Less store to do some last-minute shopping.  My neighbor, a senior, hadn’t told us that he didn’t need anything there.  He told us to “go on in,” not to rush and that he would meet us near the exit when we finished.  He was going to take his time and go into the store in a little bit.  My friend and I got out of the car and went inside. 

I finished shopping before my friend and went to the exit where my neighbor sat.  That’s when I noticed that he didn’t have any packages. “You didn’t need to buy anything?” I asked.  “No,” he answered. “Sitting here watching folks is better than watching Festus.”  We laughed.  As some of you may know, Festus was a character in the TV show “Gunsmoke,” a show my neighbor was watching when my friend and I went to his house.

As he and I chatted, I heard someone call my name. It was a woman I hadn’t seen for several years.  I went over to where she was bagging her groceries. We hugged and talked as she updated me on her family.  It was like old times. We went over to where my neighbor sat and talked with him.

I heard my name again.  It was a woman with whom I used to work and hadn’t seen for at least three years.  She looked fantastic.  We laughed about how much younger and more beautiful she looked since she no longer worked at the same place.  Talking with her, too, was like old times. We wished each other a happy Thanksgiving as she left the store.

Someone else called my name. I couldn’t believe it.  I turned around and saw another person I hadn’t seen for more than a year.  She rushed over to where I stood and we hugged and hugged.  Not only did she and I share the same birthday, we had always been in sync in many ways.  She ran back to the checkout counter, packed her groceries and hugged me again as she left the store.

A woman approached, staring and smiling at me.  At first, I didn’t recognize her, but then… Oh, my gosh.  I hadn’t seen this woman since I DON’T KNOW when.  I was so shocked to see her that I almost cried.  We had lost contact with each other for no known reason years and years before.  We hugged, exchanged phone numbers, promised to stay in touch and hugged again as she left.  Wow!  I never would have thought shopping would provide me with so many like-old-times experiences.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...