Saturday, 27 April 2019

The greengrocery shop

is in the centre of our small shopping complex.
When I first saw it the shop was to one side. That was before the fire.  It was good then. It is better now.
Yes, we had a fire in our shopping centre. It was some  years ago now. It caused a lot of damage to one half of the complex before it was brought under control. 
The greengrocery was not burnt out but in the aftermath many shops were relocated and now it is there in that central location. It bursts with colour. There are seats nearby and more than once I have seen older people just sitting there. One told me once, "I just like to sit and look at all that. Isn't it marvellous?"
And yes, it is.
It is hard work to keep a place like that clean and tidy and attractive - but they do it.
I know the staff in there. I get greeted with "Hello Cat" from some and "Gidday Cat" from others.  Even if I am out and about and the big van or the small van, both with bananas on the side, passes me the boys driving the van will wave to me. In the centre if they pass me outside the shop they will greet me by name.
They greet a lot of the customers by name. You don't get that in the supermarket - unless it is a student wanting help with an essay.
And sometimes I get a hug. 
You see I made them biscuits once. It was a long time ago now. It was just before Christmas one year. That year, ahead of me in the queue, there was someone I knew by sight. We knew one another on a "hello as we pass" basis. I said something about having a nice Christmas and she said, "It's going to be a bloody lousy Christmas" and burst into tears. 
It turned out that her daughter had recently committed suicide - a case of undiagnosed post-natal depression.
As I held her the owner of the greengrocery quietly moved everyone else away and gave us space. The staff just went quietly about their business, alert to the situation but not making an unwanted fuss. The bereaved woman was in no shape to thank him but I was. I made a batch of Christmas gingerbread shapes and took it in. 
Somehow that keeps happening. I make them biscuits a couple of times a year. They give me hugs in return.
I think I do pretty well out of it.

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