It stopped raining, just for a moment, several days ago.
I took the opportunity to walk down to the corner store to pick up chips and ice cream for dinner. And lest you, in an attempt to justify my behaviour, generously imagine that those were small treats on the side of an otherwise nutritious dinner, alas, I must inform you that you are mistaken. I ate chips and ice cream for dinner that night. Lays Salt & Vinegar chips, and Cookies & Cream ice cream, to be precise.
Our corner store is tightly packed, with just enough room for a medium sized person to duck into the aisle of choice and grab the item for which you have come. You may well have to maneuver around one of a number of children whose parents own the store, and run it with a distant civility. They are not particularly warm people, no matter how friendly I may attempt to be.
I don't go there much in the winter. In the summer, I can jam on flipflops, run down there and be back before the commercial break is over. Winter is more complicated. So I hadn't been there in awhile.
I smiled at the kids playing outside, and at their dad, watching them. They looked at me politely. I went inside, grabbed my dinner and put it on the counter. Smiled at the mom as I usually do, and went about the business of paying. And then ... she spoke up ... rather self-consciously, with a nervous laugh. "I haven't seen you in a long time," she said. "Where have you been all winter?"
I glanced ruefully at the bag of chips. "Trying not to eat chips for dinner," I said. She nodded. And that was the end of that.
Yet another friend in the neighbourhood that I happily call home.