I noticed him as he sat on the motorized shopping cart and guided a half-filled grocery cart firmly with his left hand. He turned into the isle by the diary products. He picked up a gallon of 1% Low Fat Milk. His cart already contained a case of Gatorade and a carton of Mountain Dew underneath the boxes of oatmeal, Oreo cookies, and a bag of Fuji apples. He also had bananas, grapes and a honeydew melon and tomatoes. There were frozen Stouffer’s TV dinners and several boxes of pot pies. He stopped briefly at the cigarette counter and went on without choosing any. Then he reached for a bottle of Aleve and a can of shaving cream. He passed by the meat bin, bought nothing there. He raised his eyes to look at me as he maneuvered past my overflowing cart. His eyes were pale gray, so washed out–there was hardly any sparkle to them. He wore a cap and his hair was neatly trimmed and short. Even now, he was a handsome man. He was a veteran. I know because he was shopping in a military commissary. It was the day after Memorial Day.
I wish I had at least said hello to him. I wish I had thanked him for serving our country.
© 2016 Freeda Baker Nichols