I just got back from last minute food shopping with my dad. I call him Bah, short for Bah Bah, which is “father” in Chinese. He's 58. Bah was on a mission to find King’s Hawaiian rolls. We all try to pitch in for Thanksgiving dinner and this is what my aunt had assigned him. I had apps.
By the time he picked me up, Bah had already been to at least two different stores looking for our family’s favorite brand. With the grocery strike on, we pointed our car towards the independents. First Trader Joes, closed. Then Whole Foods, open. What a mad house. The parking lot was packed but not as bad as yesterday when we bought some cornbread stuffing and a fall flower centerpiece.
Stuck in a jam of shopping carts, I excused my way over to one of the cheese holders. Not quite a fridge, but looking like a second freezer you’d find in someone’s garage but with the top off. No ice. Anyway, I stood there in the craziness of it all trying to pick out some brie. I turned over all the ones that bulged at the sides and checked prices. $6.16, $8.23, $12.46, etc. A tall sturdy man with thinning white hair stood next to me looking at his list, then at the cheese, then at his list, back at the cheese, and so on.
“I think you’re supposed to get the kind that bulge a little,” I offered.
“Yeah, I know I’m supposed to get this kind,” he said pointing at the list, “but now to find which one that is.” I pointed to the one on sale and picked up a medium sized slice. He took it and still just as puzzled as before said, “How do I know if it’s enough?” I asked him how many people, he said four, and I assured him he’d be fine.
Afterwards I grabbed a similar slice and waded through the crowd to where my dad was holding more rolls.
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“They don’t have Hawaiian,” he said with some nice looking alternatives in his hand. “She’ll be disappointed, won’t she?”
“It’ll be fine,” I said unconvinced.
At that point I paused to bask in the love. I treasure holidays. All these people cramming their love in. Everyone trying so hard to please their family, please their friends. It’s love in the shape of cheese. Devotion in dinner rolls.
I tend to live like this on a more monthly basis, but it was cool to be surrounded by so many others doing the same. My dad and I jetted off to find some caviar under fifty bucks.
At the next store we found some hawaiian rolls, but they weren’t King’s. A store clerk was showing us the alternatives and I told my dad, get them, they might like him. Suddenly Bah came to his senses and said, “No way, that would make it seven different kinds of rolls. I’ll have to freeze these guys and eat them for weeks.”
I laughed. Sure he had finally realized that he’d gone overboard. But it was two stores too late. His love was already out there. And all over the back of our van.
Returning home is always a reminder that I’m not the only love machine around. I come from a whole herd of them. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I hope you’re having fun. And if you’re reading this blog today, you have time to pick up the phone and call someone you care about. I bet they’d enjoy hearing that you’re thinking of them.