The Grand Dinner
By Richard Ozanne
Every meal is blessed, as a gift to life.
“Good morning shoppers welcome to Grundi's!..In our Bakery section we have Grundi Biscuits and Wafers at 25 percent off...today only!... Dont forget you can use your Grundi's card for special values...Your home when you shop Grundi's. (A song of several sweet cherubic voices play an anthem in the background as it fades away)
Rapid Voice on PA: Check 34- on Isle #3 Check 34 on Isle #3
An elderly-age lady came in through the sliding door at the entrance her smile illuminated the large expanse of the monotone environment as she peared first to the left and then to the right and walked straight in towards the deli section walking slowly as each step counted a deep internal rhythm which seemed locked in her pace. Once she was a star? Perhaps? Her walk spoke of a stride of a model...once, at one time a cinema set, production house, acetate and nitrate film and canned environments. Perhaps the picture faded but when...and where? She stride in slowly and her lovliness is not marred by age only enhanced, if perception provides us with some inclinations.
“Yes...can I help you?” called the bright eyed service boy attentive to details. The old lady paused and slowly pointed to some wrapped beef which was on special for only 50cents...”I will have a roll also please and some milk”. She looked in her small pocketbook for change. Two dollars in quarters. “Humm, this will pay for lunch, and a quarter saved for laundry..” Her eyes returned to the counter where a little packet was handed to her. She took the package and a small plastic cup off the counter and walked into the small and sterile cafe where she went to the soda drink fountain and carefully pushed the water button. There were others sitting along the walls and near the window. She found her favorite seat in the corner. They had some special flowers in the corner that seemed never to wilt...since she ate there every day she often wondered about how much wonderful care they gave them. She moved over to her favorite seat and sat down and carefully prepared her meal, opening her purse and finding two packets of Mayonnaise and Ketchup. Her hands squeezed the contents out upon the roll, getting a little on her forefinger and a spot on the table and then dressing her meat around the contents. Pausing a second she looked up...not so concentrated on the food but paying attention to the flowers on the mantle that seemed...so lovely. “Ohh..”she said to herself...”I wish I had such a green thumb”. The lady then continued to eat her mid-day meal.
A rather young man in his mid 30's came in and sat down at the next table looking stressed lonely and concerned. The older lady had remembered him. It was about two weeks that she remembered him coming into the Grundie Supermarket. Sometimes he had a computer, other times he just had a book. Most often he would eat simple meals from the deli counter.
The young man smiled at her but seemed to be rather distanced, neat but a little more worn and ragged than she had remembered. She had some concern.
“Where are you from?” she asked him..projecting her voice after catching his eye, she smiled.
“Huh?, oh yes, From here, Im from here now” He answered
“Oh I had seen you here before..and just though it would be polite to introduce myself” the old lady exclaimed...
“Yeh..Yeh...” the young man answered in a tone of denial and drifted and his eyes towards the wall pretending not to hear.
The older lady not wanting to seem impolite with questions stopped her conversation and continued to wrap up the rest of her sandwich in a piece of plastic which she had selected for that purpose, and put it in her purse for dinner.
A second young man entered the sterile cafe..which seemed to gleem in white effervescent. This young man sported a coat and a mop and went to his business cleaning vigilantly the light gray floor and scrubbing the tables. His eyes were heavily concentrated on his job as he moved from table to table. The old lady looked out of the corner of her eye and was inspired looking at the young man as he brought back memories of long ago and one who had looked similar in her many lives past. “What a similarity to Jeorge she thought...what a memory...do I remember” she reminded herself as images of the fellow inspired a curious time travel back to her youth.
“Jeroge..George, yes that was his name..” It was 1943 and he was a handsome young man. The film studio had selected him for lead part in the movie A Young Summers Dream. “It was 1943..yes, 43 and he was the young man who came in so sure of his self..an actor so fine that the director couldn't help but cast him in the role of Young” she thought. “Yes...didn't he get an Oscar..or no that was Tyrone...oh hec that was so long ago...the Studio, the films...all canned and left to mold in some large warehouse..who would watch those old flicks anymore?” she internally commented.
The young man scrubbed and scrubbed...his eyes pure focused on his work. “Did I remember that summer...43...Oh, my gosh!...hummm Jeroge” the old lady sighed inside. But it was only memory that assisted her nostalgia inside. Jeroge had been dead since 65. A tear came to her eye and then it was wiped away, still watching the young man as he quickly smudged the table for any residue...”Jeroge would never have been a table cleaner anyway..” she thought. The young man suddenly turned around with the feeling of being watched and gave the old woman a sneer of warning and then a smirk attached to a smile.
The old woman glanced out the window and gazed at the light as the soft midday luminescence played over the green hedge and filled the parking lot with flashing signets of spectral colors off the cars parked in rows. Her eyes came closer to her and concentrated on the window sill. There were two nice and colorful advertisements there a napkin dispenser, an old paper egg carrier and two pots with flowers that had the soft coloration of purple and green almost royally displayed. ”What beautiful flowers” she said to herself as she thought about the plants sitting in little Terra Cotta pots only feet from her..”They surely take care of them”
She then brought her gaze to another heavy set woman sitting at a chair across the room. The old lady kind of watched her at a distance. This lady sat firmly in her chair with both legs spaced and took the look of a military trooper that had just had a reprieve from the line- regiment. Her hand was firmly placed against the side of her head and her jaw being quite firm and man like looked straight forward unflinching as to what was happening in the next room out of view. “Gotta do that Salmon” the lady said..”What time does Jim get in? My hours are fixed this week” she grind ed away in a tough voice that carried. “How many hours ya workin” a voice came from behind. “34 this week..gonna get off break soon...slide out that fish!” She said and laughed. Voices continued from behind.
Check on Isle 12...Check on Isle 12 (A loud voice came from the PA)
(Music) And now Grundis shoppers...in the poultry isle we have hamburger at only 1.99 a lb!! Think ahead for the holidays..(Music) Be a popular host with Grundies Quality item of the day....Smoked Salmon on Special at the Deli Dept...
The young man started to clean the table next to the old woman. Her eyes drifted back to him. He was hard working and industrious. The old woman caught his attention and asked him...”Are you the care-taker of the flowers? They are always so fresh and pretty I would like to tell you that I had some roses too that are back home...but they never lasted so long as these...
The young man looked strangely at her and whinced back towards his work not answering the ladies question and repeated his scrubbing of the seats with brisk strokes.
The old lady asked..”How do you keep them so preserved! Its a miracle, you have a green thumb!
The young guy winced again...grabbed one of the pots carelessly and brought it quickly off the window sill...
“Oh these?” He sneered, and laughed....”Artificial!!!”