It was pouring rain and a good day to go to town to do some real shopping.
I parked my car, walked inside the store, grabbed my cart and scanned the display, admiring the abundance of merchandise, especially all the colorful garden and lawn art.
This was a conscious shopping trip, a planned event, specifically designated to celebrate 14 days out from Vaccination No. 2 and to go shopping "because I could."
After selecting some gardening items (potting soil, flower seed and trays), I headed down an aisle looking for bird feeders.
On my way, I met Glenn.
It was about a year ago that I last saw Glenn in person.
At that time, we had gotten together at the store and walked to another outdoor location where I took some mug shots of him for a magazine assignment.
Glen is a former student and avid fisherman who's gifted with spot-on and sometimes really corny wit.
In fact, I occasionally quote him here in the blog because that wit has been very welcome and needed for the times.
Yesterday we talked about his humorous one liners and about the past year and how our perspectives regarding people, many whom we've known for a long time had changed because of revelations we'd both observed during the past several months of intense social media.
We agreed that it has often been brutal, reading, with incredulity and shock, the outrageous outpourings of people we had always thought we knew well.
I think we're not alone in this assessment.
Social media and relative isolation of the multitude have not only brought out some of most questionable and sometimes ludicrous inner thoughts but have also tested relationships beyond pretty much anything we've ever experienced.
We both agreed that without the free-for-all license of social media, these situations would probably not happen.
Still, in other cases, relative isolation and social media have also blended to create new friendships and new levels of understanding or empathy from friends and acquaintances we may have least expected.
Happy to say that the friendship I've enjoyed with Glenn over the years has remained steadfast in spite of this Pandemic year.
After a nice visit, he led me to the one and only bird feeder on the store shelves.
Bill and I had been talking before my trip to town how nice it would be to have another feeder outside the living-room window where we can sit back and watch all winged activity.
So, that one last feeder, a shiny blue plastic tubular model with several levels of feeding spots went into my cart.
Feeling a sense of awesome delight at actually pushing a shopping cart around a store, I decided to make a special purchase which could symbolize this transitional day in my personal trip back to a somewhat normal life.
So, I went to the clothing and accessories department. After surveying the assortment of artistic and blingy baseball caps, I moved on to a small jewelry display and picked out a lovely pair of silver earrings.
With just looped wires for the ear lobes, I liked how easy they would be to slip on an off. Then, it was off to the check stand to finalize the purchase of a cartful of goodies.
The whole experience felt good, especially when I saw that pretty much all staff were wearing masks and other customers were keeping their distance.
Happily, the general public has come a long way in needed protocol since the last time I spent any time in a local store.
I can vividly remember the days of last March walking around Yoke's, feeling extremely self-conscious wearing my mask and whisky past any familiar faces, lest they want to stop and talk. They probably felt the same toward me.
Those were, indeed, scary, uncertain and weird times, which quickly led to my signing up for curbside shopping.
Happily, yesterday's trip to a store seemed very different in a good way.
I felt a sense of calm and a "you can do this" confidence, thanks to the fact that most folks are respecting others' space. Nowadays, I also feel perfectly at home, wearing my mask in public.
All that said, there's a bit more to my shopping story.
Yes, they are very easy to slip on with their open, curved wires, but they also slip out of the ear lobe just as easily when the wearer is shoveling horse apples.
I do know when it fell out of my ear this morning, and I know generally where it fell.
BUT delicate earrings do tend to blend in with hay, shavings and horse manure, especially when the lighting is not good and one's glasses are in the house.
So, after blog time this morning, I'll take a flashlight, wear my glasses and go find that Pandemic earring. Furthermore, I'll probably save the set for going-to-town experiences, which are looking more favorable with each new day.
All in all, yesterday's shopping trip "because I could" was a wonderful and welcome experience.
Now, I'm looking forward to a safe outing of enjoying a meal with friends or family (who've been vaccinated, of course) at a restaurant.
Finally, for the "yes, we're proud" department.
From this morning's paper . . . .
Good job, Willie!