My first couple of hours in Mayberry last weekend went something like this:
First I went into the grocery store to pick up some food for the luncheon I was hosting for my sister. There I found I was over dressed in a long shapeless sundress and flip flops. Apparently there was a discount for wearing dingy pajamas and greasy headrags and rollers to the store so I had to settle for the cashier swiping her bonus card for my discount. As I waited in line, I feared my sundress would be stained by the right lung of the patron behind me. He ended up behind me because he let me take the space in front of him. With that old man nod; had he had a hat he might’ve tipped it. Lucky me. He wore overalls—shorts—and looked like a heftier version of the mute farmer in To Kill A Mockingbird with his stubbly chin hairs. He smelled like he had not washed the outfit nor himself since the black and white film had shown on a reel at the downtown theater. He coughed like death’s first cousin.
In the Dollar Tree, a lady in boyshorts—otherwise known as cheeky shorts since your butt cheeks always peek from the bottom hem—and a bra top shopped with her young son and husband for birthday balloons and gift bags. I guess they were going to a pool party, but the son and husband’s outfits didn’t corroborate that speculation. Maybe she was just hot; after all it was about 96 degrees in the shade. As she left the store, she was greeted by a carload of people who had the same olive skin and dark hair. Maybe family? And they shared a sitcom-styled hugfest in the parking lot.
At KFC, I ordered a snack and was warmly greeted by a lady with more sun spots than teeth. Of course, had she had 5 sunspots, that would’ve been more teeth than I saw. She was very gracious and unlike people with years of orthodontic treatment and Crest Pro-health on their side, she smiled at me like the cashiers you see on 1980’s McDonald’s commercials. That was refreshing actually. Despite the tooth situation.
A crew of crackheads descended on the next store full of funk, erratic movements, and jokes I didn’t understand but I smiled politely anyway. And held my breath. The last one to pay for his goods decided my hand cart was too heavy. Before he could hand the cashier his crisp twenty, he picked it up from in front of my feet where I rested it while I waited and placed it on the conveyer. Then he promised the non-crackhead patron in front of him–that he would bring his female crackhead friend over. And that he would wait outside. So polite.