This being Friday, I found myself at Aldi this morning, watching a little girl torment her little brother who sat in the cart with her. I see this kind of thing quite often, and in most cases the mother does not react. I don’t know if she doesn’t notice or if she doesn’t care. Either way, I feel sorry for the defenseless little tot who’s being bullied. If the younger one cries or tries to ward off the attack, the really clever little bullies often manage to convince their parent that they are the injured party—and the victim is the one who gets in trouble.
Today was the final day that my beloved favorite bookstore was open. I couldn’t resist going back one last time. After all, I still had some store credit. I thought maybe it would be humming with activity, that others would be flocking there one last time. Instead, I found a small congenial group. Steve, the owner, and his wife Paige, whom I hadn’t seen in months, Paige’s sister Lee, and Pat, one of my fellow book club members.
Lee had brought cupcakes to mark the occasion, and although I couldn’t have one of course, I did join the party by drinking one of my infrequent cups of coffee. I browsed the store one last time, and found a book that Walter had mentioned wanting, a book for Jasper, and even one for myself. Mostly, though, we just talked. And that’s when I discovered a shocking gap in my knowledge. Paige mentioned to her sister that Pat is a landman. As Pat is a woman, I was more than a little confused. Then it was mentioned that Steve (an attorney) had also been a landman for many years.
I was completely mystified. Here was a profession that I had never heard of, yet everyone else clearly knew exactly what it was. I felt like an idiot for not knowing, but I asked anyway. Once again, I realized how on the “outside” I am when it comes to things that are normal for native Texans who grew up around the oil industry. I hate feeling ignorant!
Eventually I knew I needed to head home. Said my goodbyes, hugged Paige, and wondered when I’d see her again. She was the encouraging hostess of all those watercolor and art classes I attended there. I will miss that place so much. It had become a second home for me—a place with even more books than my actual home, comfy chairs, and always congenial conversation. If I had money, I’d buy it and keep it open . . . but instead I’ll just quietly mourn its passing.