Something I have learned, living far from a city or town, is to conserve. As gasoline prices have risen this summer, I go to town only for groceries or pet food. Ordinarily, I check with my neighbor to see if he needs anything. With my list in hand, I then try to get to the town of Harrison before five-o’clock traffic. A shopping run takes about four hours out of my day.
I have narrowed my diet down to what I consider the basics. I buy yogurt, live sprouted whole grain bread, yard eggs, canned sardines, sesame tahini, peanut butter, farmers and feta cheeses, and butter. Sometimes I buy organically grown vegetables, but right now, I am harvesting tomatoes, kale, and broccoli from the garden. I still have onions I dug a few weeks ago. When I run out of olive oil, I will be looking for a good deal. I shop at a natural foods store in Harrison about every ten days, and so far, it has been adequate. Happily, I have managed to avoid applying for food stamps, although I am sure I qualify. In spite of being in my mid-sixties, I am healthy, active, and take no meds.
Recently I met, through a close, mutual friend, a woman who moved back to this area from Texas. She is intelligent, well read, informed, well educated, and articulate. She and my friend are both a lot of fun. The three of us have been coming together at least once a week. We visit, eat a meal together, and play Scrabble. It has been such a long time since I had any company, it is satisfying, comforting to have friends who will share their time and space with me. It is also good to keep company with those who openly share their thoughts, not afraid to articulate their observations and opinions. I need good influences in my life. These two friends may be helping me in this area, as well as helping me remember I can laugh. We seem to laugh a lot when we “hang out!”
These two have seemingly taken me “under their wings.” For instance, when we play Scrabble, they help me look for the possible highest-scoring word, since they have heard me exclaim, “I don’t play Scrabble! My vocabulary was better when I was fourteen! I need to start reading the Dictionary!” They point out the two-letter words that will line up with other letters that add up to more than my feeble attempts to score. I will catch on.
My two friends have invited me to make a run to the town of Little Rock tomorrow. My new friend is vegan and wishes to shop at the Whole Foods Market there. She says that the prices are lower at Whole Foods than those I find at the natural foods store in Harrison. Therefore, I have been making my list. I will exercise restraint when we step into Whole Foods tomorrow morning, but it will be a challenge. I know I will find the items I usually buy, and much more. These two smart women friends by my side, I will not be tempted for long to purchase anything not in my budget. They will not only focus on their lists, they will also look at mine, and “cluck-cluck” at me if I express temptation to buy anything I cannot afford.
It will be fun. I have asked if they will let me do the driving. I am a road warrior, and good at it! In addition, my vehicle is in excellent condition and gets great gas mileage. I cannot lie. Riding as a passenger is not something I do! I am looking forward to an adventure with my women friends, even though we will be accomplishing our shopping in as short a period as possible. There will be no dilly-dallying about, no window-shopping. We will be coming together early in the morning, taking the scenic drive down out of these mountains, and speeding along with the traffic to the city. It will be a three-hour drive one-way, and a full eight hours away from home.
By the time we get back, we will each be grateful that it is here in these wooded mountains we live.