Saturday, May 15, 2010
I handed Bethany, the pharmacist clerk, my prescription. She held it up to within a few inches of her face and squinted at it.
“Where are your glasses, Bethany?” I asked.
“They're down there gettin fixed,” she said canting her head in the direction of Kroger’s eye clinic.
“Well, are you sure you can read that?” I said. I was used to seeing her with glasses that made her gray eyes look huge.
“Protonix,” she said.
“You’re guessing,” I said. It was the only prescription medication I took and I picked it up every month.
Bethany gave me a rueful little smile and told me it would be ten to fifteen minutes. “You wanna wait?” she asked.
I shrugged my shoulders, turned, and walked over to a bench and sat next to a stocky, middle-aged woman wearing a hoodie, jeans, and work boots. She smiled at me.
“They are a tad busy this morning,” she said.
“Tuesday,” I said.
“Oh, yah?” she said, puzzled.
“The day the retirement homes bring in their people to shop and pick up prescriptions.”
“Oh, yah,” she said. “They do that on Mondays in Saint Cloud.”
“I thought I noticed an accent. You from Minnesota?”
“Born and raised,” she said. “But we don’t have an accent.” Her smile made her look younger.
“Are you living here, now?” I asked.
“I moved out here in 1973 with my husband. He was a dry land wheat farmer."
I raised my eyebrows. “That’s a hard life.”
“Before that, I lived on a farm near Saint Cloud, so I was used to farm living. We raised eight kids, two boys and six girls.”
She began digging around in one of her shopping bags.
I checked my watch and glanced at the pharmacy counter.
“My father raised chickens,” the woman said, a piece of candy stuck in the side of her mouth. “We ate a lot of chicken.”
She held the candy roll out to me.
I took one and smiled. “So, where are your kids now?”
“Mostly in Minnesota, but one son lives in Alaska. Both boys hunt and fish. They get together now and then. They were gonna ice fish last year, but it was too warm. The vans were falling through the ice, don’cha know.”
“Global warming,” I said.
She grimaced and shook her head. “I don't know about that,” she said.
“So what kind of hunting do your sons do?” I said, not wanting to get into a discussion about how warm the earth was getting with a person from St. Cloud, Minnesota.
“Deer, moose, stuff like that,” she said.
“Moose?” I said.
“Oh, yah. I ate some once or twice. Gives me gas.”
I saw Bethany motioning to me.
“Looks like my prescription is ready.” I got up. “Nice talking with you. And by the way, be sure to check that you get the right medication.”
The woman smiled up at me. “Check out the sign at the sushi counter,” she said.
“The sushi counter,” she said, pointing over towards the deli section.
I nodded, wondering what the hell she was talking about.
On my way out I went by the deli and stopped at the sushi counter. They had their usual assortment of sushi and sashimi in neat little throw-away boxes, with pickled ginger and wasabi. There on the counter was a display of their California Roll. Next to it was a sign that said, “For your own safety, please don’t eat our display.”