The man in overalls and the greasy baseball cap came up and started with "I'm here from out of town....." It's never good when a customer starts with those words. He talked in an accent I hadn't heard in awhile. An accent I have worked many hours to scrub from my own vocal cords. I looked at him and saw my past. "Durndest thang.....I had muh pill bottles set out all on the kitchen table and just left 'em thar" I looked at him and saw everything I ran from.
His daughter came up and there was a conference between me, her, and the old man's central profile. He wasn't involved so much. We eventually figured he needed his sugar pills as well as the ones for his tingly feet. A little boy came up and said "Pa! they got a chair outside with a roof over it!" I think the boy was talking about some sort of plastic made-in-China lawn furniture with a gazebo on display out front. I looked at the boy and saw me. I remember the first time I saw a shopping mall. It amazed me. I remember the first time I saw a big city skyscraper. It amazed me. I can very much remember a time when I would have been amazed to see a chair with a roof over it. Now I work with some of the wealthiest people in the world in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and these people aren't amazed with anything. It's been a long time since I've been amazed with anything myself. I ran away from a place full of good people to a place full of the brain-numbness that only affluence can bestow.
I'll be leaving this weekend to go back home for a week. When I landed in California, I made it a point to say that the Golden State was my home now. It's not. I'm flying to Columbus, renting a car, driving it deep into the heart of Appalachia, and then giving my Mom a big hug.
I'm glad the old man came in the store.