Small Potatoes and Tuesdays @ the Piggly Wiggly
Several years ago I published a book by this title. It was a memoir that followed a thread of everyday happenings that impacted my life and the profound lessons learned. Today I start a new blog series with the same theme.
Small Potatoes and Tuesdays @ the Piggly Wiggly is subtitled “Discovering the Profound in the Mundane” implying that people, places, and things that seem insignificant (like the adage “small potatoes”) or routine experiences (like Tuesdays at the Piggly Wiggly) are impressions left in wet cement—a mosaic—creating a masterpiece. The canvas on which my life was created originates in a small town in the Deep South of the 1950s and ‘60s. Basically I grew up in Mayberry.
It was a colorful place. The county was dry, which meant no alcohol, and yet there was at least one town drunk, maybe more. There were a few kooks and a few ambitious souls and a lot of hard-working people, but not all. We had some who seemed to have an aversion to work and the rest of us shook our heads when we spoke of them. Women didn’t work outside the home except occasionally as schoolteachers or nurses. Mostly the fathers worked and the mothers stayed home with the children.
On Tuesdays, mamas flooded into the supermarket, The Piggly Wiggly, hoping to find sales on nonperishables and to get double S&H Green Stamps. Those stamps could be collected and exchanged for merchandise such as small appliances, dry goods, and even toys at the redemption center.
On summer days when I was out of school I tagged along with Mama so I could watch the people and marvel at the stamp dispenser that meted out bonuses in long perforated sheets. I’d hear “how-ya-doin’s” and “fine-thank-yous” often in passing, but occasionally we’d stop and “visit” as we call it in the South. During these extended conversations, I usually had the option of absorbing the latest gossip, suffering through the details of Maude’s gallbladder surgery, or excusing myself to the school supplies aisle. Yet always there was something fascinating to learn at “The Pig.”
This week millions of students donned academic regalia and walked across some stage to receive some piece of parchment indicating that they have achieved some level of competence in some subject. Congratulations to you all!
This season brought a memory that was also a lesson I learned from the experience.
We went to celebrate the college graduation of our oldest son. The ceremony was held in a large arena and we were to be joined by some other friends and relatives. We stood outside the arena waiting for the others in our party, but sent our youngest son into the venue to try and save some seats so we could all sit together. It didn’t dawn on us that youngest son might be hard to find in the arena that was filling up quickly.
We met the completion of our party and went inside to find youngest son and the seats he had found for us. There were already hundreds of people gathered and we didn’t immediately see the seat-saver. My husband gave a whistle, not loud, but loud enough to be audible to a few. Suddenly a hand went up. It was young son marking his location. That exact sound of the whistle was used to call our sons home when they were out in the neighborhood. They had heard that sound so many times and could identify that it was their father calling them.
It didn’t dawn on me until later. We’ll hear noises every day. Voices. Clatter. Whistling. When I hear God’s call, because I’ve heard it so many times and have learned to trust it, I can get home where I belong.
By the way, you can order the original book from Amazon