Tag Archives: Groceries

Little Joys

Everyone loves huge joys, the take-my-breath-away, can-this-be-me, yippee-yahoo-yaaaay! joys. Some people even become speechless. (A lover of words and hyphens, I’m not one of those.)

Many, though, experience bits of gladness that barely raise adrenaline levels, yet light blahness like a candle’s flame. For example:

  • Being the very first to stick a spoon into a jar of peanut butter.
Image by sebastianhausi from Pixabay.
  • Discovering an in-law’s dog chewed your shoes already destined for the trash.
Image by wixon lubhon from Pixabay.
  • Putting away groceries without remembering what you forgot.
  • Buying avocados at exactly the right stage of ripeness.
  • Almost spilling something purple on a friend’s white carpet but recovering in time.
  • Seeing someone else has reloaded toilet paper. She may have been a burglar, but wouldn’t you like to shake her hand?
Image by Carola68 from Pixabay.
  • Baking brownies with crispy edges and gooey middles — though someone will inform you they are too crispy. Or too gooey. Which doubles the little joy, as you can eat them all yourself.
  • Discovering you really did leave your phone at home, rather than at O’Hare.

Maybe that last qualifies as a big joy, an end-zone-dance celebration. But other small joys make a difference:

  • That someone held the door open for you when your arms were full. And didn’t let go too soon.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.
  • That your car, even more hostile toward winter than you, started at first try.
  • That a human hug is something computers will never replace.
  • That rain doesn’t have to be shoveled.
  • That no one cares whether pink or blue baby sleepers are politically correct. At least, not in Indiana.
  • That you finished a book delightful as a hot fudge sundae — and no calories!

“It doesn’t take much to make you happy,” critics might say.

As if everyday happinesses don’t matter. As if little joys collected throughout a lifetime don’t add up to something substantial.

On the contrary, they shine in a person’s face, walk and talk. In memories of them long after they pass on.

That is no small thing.

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What little joys brighten your days?

The Infamous Jelly Bean Caper

My grocery cart contains skim milk, black beans and Fiber Buddies, but I pause near the “Seasonal Items” aisle.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Chocolate bunnies. Fifty percent off.

If there’s anything better than chocolate, it’s cheap chocolate.

Focus elsewhere, I tell myself.

Jelly beans help me lose the trance. Because they’re favorites? No. As a kid, I liked them, especially green ones — minty treats like chewing gum, only Mom let me swallow them. Nowadays, jelly beans initiate a decades-old mental playback.

Image by Jondolar Schnurr from Pixabay.

My sister, Jean, and I were sneaking cream-filled cupcakes she’d baked for our get-together. Between us, we had five children, ages six and under. We gladly welcomed the help of our younger brother Ken, the handsome hero of his little nieces and nephews. He swung them, threw balls and told stories about valiant exploits as a Pizza Hut waiter.

My five-year-old wandered in.

I said, “Whatcha need, hon?”

She drew close as if sharing a terrible secret. “Mommy, I don’t want to hurt Uncle Kenny’s feelings. But these jelly beans he gave us hurt my tongue.” She deposited the green, gooey mess into my hand.

Fearlessly, I tasted it. Flames devoured my tongue.

I told Jean, “Ken fed our babies jalapeño jelly beans.”

She motioned me from the window, steaming. Our offspring covered the swing set, green tongues hanging out and eyes crossed.

Before mother fury could send us outside, Ken entered and helped himself to several cupcakes.

“Mmmm.” Ken snarfed two down. “What kind are they?”

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay.

My eyes met Jean’s for a brief, telepathic moment. Yes. He deserves it.

“French white-worm-filled,” I told him.

“I got them at the gourmet shop downtown,” Jean deadpanned.

Kenny’s face turned green as the infamous jelly beans. He backed into the bathroom, gagging, while we triumphantly bore cupcakes to our children.

Later, we relished telling him the truth.

Kenny couldn’t believe it. Betrayal! At the hands of his coupon-clipping, Sunday-school-attending big sisters! “You lied to me!”

Jean glared back. “You fed jalapeño jellybeans to my children.”

Though ready to kill our brother then, Jean and I are glad we let him live … most of the time.

“Do that again or anything like it,” I said, “and you will die. S-l-o-w-l-y.”

Although twice our size, Ken took a step back.

Decades later, green jelly beans still give me an inner glow. Oooh, sweet revenge.

Some things feel even better than chocolate, 50 percent off.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever tasted jalapeño jelly beans?

Super Swooper Versus Small-Time Heroes

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

Do you also wish a superhero would swoop down and fly you to a beach where sunshine is the only butt-warmer needed?

My Super Swooper hasn’t appeared. Still, throughout my life, small-time heroes have popped up like crocuses through snow.

My family was staying in a church’s back rooms with no bathing facilities. Mom’s friend shared her old-fashioned bathtub, making the world a less stinky place.

Unknown drivers pulled over 1950s Chevys to give my young father rides to work.

As a preschooler, I pilfered a necklace from Etta, the Church Lady. Mom forced my confession before Etta and God. Both pardoned me. Later, Etta gave me a necklace of my very own.

A preacher gave me a Hershey bar and told me I could sing.

Serious hero points go to children’s education leaders who kept straight faces and saved mine. Assured any scripture memorization qualified for a prize, I recited Song of Solomon passages. Unknown to me, they weren’t about palm trees and goats.

As a teen driver, I smashed a pastor’s car, yet he maintained his religion.

Image by RitaE from Pixabay.

At my first job, I dumped salads with French dressing on a lady wearing a white suit. She waved off my tearful apology: “No problem. I have six kids.”

A college student, I worked summer nights in a rough Western town. The cook drank coffee out front, wearing a snarl no cowboy challenged. “If anybody hassles you, I’ll break ’em in two.”

Less menacing, a couple with small children picked up my boyfriend and I for church every week.

Despite my future in-laws’ visions of a marital Titanic, they supported our wedding during medical school.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

Other small-time heroes zoomed in:

An unemployed couple slid 10 dollars under our door.

A child brightened my tough workday by saying I was pretty.

A stranger, concerned about my pregnancy, pushed my shopping cart and unloaded groceries.

A snowplow operator cleared our driveway, with homemade bread for payment.

I’d asked a Burger King counterperson to reheat cold fries. Upon hearing I’d been dieting and hoped to enjoy a treat, she handed me smoking-hot replacements.

A young college student carried this old adult student’s backpack up three flights of stairs.

A grouchy, nonfiction editor didn’t throw me out for mistakenly pitching fiction to her at 8:00 a.m. She ultimately published several of my pieces.

Image by shahbazshah91 from Pixabay.

A writing friend grabbed me before I entered an important meeting wearing a Chiquita banana sticker on my power-suited butt.

All these and more have rescued me. I can’t count how many times my family has saved me.

Who needs Super Swooper, anyway?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Who are your small-time heroes?