Yesterday, as I was shopping at our local Dollar Tree store, I was standing in the food aisle, contemplating some purchases. An elderly lady came up next to me and muttered “Oh, that’s good”. “Pardon me?” I said.
She looked at me, smiled and apologized, stating that she lived alone and was used to talking to herself. I smiled back and said “I don’t live alone, and I still talk to myself!”. We both chuckled and she reached for one of two boxes of Stovetop Stuffing that were left on the shelf. She asked if I had ever tried that kind of stuffing and I explained that I hadn’t done so for at least 15 years. She proceeded to tell me what a bargain it was to get a double pack for a dollar and that they’ve improved the taste greatly over the years.
I told her that I was in the process of the onset of an empty nest and was having to make some major adjustments, cooking for two. A sadness came over her face for a moment and she responded “I’ve been cooking for one now for 5 years, and it’s very hard”. She then shook off the feeling that she was obviously struggling with, patted my arm and said “I’m sorry to hold you up, I’m sure you have shopping to do”. I responded by picking up the last box of Stovetop Stuffing and asked her if she had any secrets to making it extra tasty. She smiled broadly, telling me that I should put in “just a tad” bit more butter than the directions call for and to never use “fake butter”. “It’s all in the butter” she said as she clutched her box of Stovetop.
And there we stood, in the middle of the Dollar Tree store, for another five minutes or so, discussing the ins and outs of Stovetop Stuffing, the rising prices of food and the rainstorm we both had battled to go shopping. As we parted ways, she tapped my box of Stovetop Stuffing and said “I hope you enjoy”. I already did.
I bought that Stovetop Stuffing, knowing that I would not cook it. It will be donated to our food bank and will help someone else. But every time I look at a box of Stovetop, I will think of that charming lady and hope that she’s making dinner for two that night.