About an hour given to shop at the superstore. Who knows when the last time she was in a store with so many choices. At 90+ you don’t go running around much, especially if you’re in a wheelchair. With a gift card in hand and a glance to my watch, I figured that we had about 60 minutes to look around, buy some items, get checked out and then meet the others . I was not a shopper but thankfully I was familiar with the store and knew generally where things were.
However, I realized quickly that I would not be following my normal procedure: I would not be zooming the aisles with my cart in an attempt to get my stuff and get out as soon as possible and onto more important things on my to-do list. This time was different. I was working and my responsibility was meeting the needs of the lady in my care.
We hardly got a few feet when before us was a whole section of Easter items. Yes, a few St. Patrick things were there too since March had not quite arrived yet. But Easter had arrived in the marketing world, two months in advance.
I have looked at decorations before when picking out a few things to brighten up my sister’s room at her nursing home. But I generally avoided the section. I preferred more natural decorations or none for the holidays.
But this time was different. I stopped and looked and discovered new joys. With her awes and smiles I also had to chuckle and marvel at the variety of things I did not know as a kid. I’m not sure who was more amused, my elderly friend or myself. I saw plastic eggs of every shape and color. And we both laughed at the football and baseball shaped ones. The artificial grass I thought only existed in pastel colors surprised me with rainbow and psychedelic colors. Marshmallow chicks I thought were only found in pink or yellow could be a punch flavored red. And the baskets! I was thrilled to pick up a horse one that I would have loved as a kid. We were both tickled by the insanely cute stuffed animals and we both loved the rocking lamb. Memories of Easter past came flooding in. For the elderly lady with me, she thought of candy baskets for her children and grandchildren and spring wreathes for her front door. I thought of Easter baskets full of candy hid in our home and hard-boiled eggs we would paint for egg hunts.
It was only for a short time and only among three aisles. But I was reminded how I need to stop and cherish and share memories with others, to take the time to connect in a deep way and to enjoy simple pleasures. To stop and “smell the roses,” they say. To take the time to look, laugh, smell, feel, taste, and remember. Plastic eggs and stuffed horse baskets are seasonable and perishable. They will some day be discarded or broken. But the imperishable items — friendships, people, memories — are the most treasured and priceless and timeless.