Saturday, June 6, 2015

Watermelons, Squash and Cantalope, OH MY!

This time of year holds special memories for me: right out of high school I worked at a local Piggly Wiggly grocery store back home. I worked there about five years before I left to move on and do other things, but during that time, I learned to do a lot of different things.

I operated a cash register for the most part, and boy howdy, was that ever an interesting job. There were no scanners back then, the buggy pulled right up onto the register itself, no moving-belts existed, the cashiers were the movers, pulling out the products and punching in the prices while learning to find a groove that enabled you to never stop – just pull, punch in the price, slide it back, and pull some more.

Funny side-story: I got so good at it and had memorized so many of the prices – like pork and beans were three cans for a $1.00, etc., that I would sometimes mindlessly just be going along and not realize what my hands had gotten into. Our particular store because of its locale, carried items other stores may have not even heard of; I certainly hadn’t.  As I was working along one evening, sliding stuff up and down the register, I was blindly reaching for my next item and felt my fingers suddenly SQUISH into something.  I reactively jerked my hand back, and squealed a bit I’m sure, when I realized I had put both of my fingers into the eyeball sockets of a real hogs head from the meat department. Now I’ll just tell you this, it took me a very long time to put Brunswick stew in my mouth again without thinking about where it originated from.

For about two years of the five that I worked there, I was also able to experience the produce department. I could’ve done without the winter months, those cold, wet collards and turnips are not much fun to handle when you’re hands are already freezing. But I absolutely loved the summertime when all the wall-bins were covered with deliciously, healthy fruits and vegetables, all the colors of the rainbow and flavors the palate could imagine.  

We would buy a lot of our produce right out the back door from the local farmers, and of course, we were able to sample something of everything before we agreed to the buy. That was probably two of the healthiest years of my life – all those fresh fruits right at my fingertips. I barely even remember eating regular food once summer rolled around.

And that’s how I felt today as we entered Winn Dixie and I saw all that fresh fruit. One of our favorite young people, Montana Manley, was working in that department this morning and we asked her how the watermelons were as she was rolling a cart of pre-cut packages of watermelon to the cooler.  She guided us straight to the bin of seedless watermelons,  we bought one, and of course, and it was delicious!

Fruits and vegetables: the unsung heroes of summer!

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