I was in the store yesterday, a little veggie market not far from my house. It gets pretty crowded after work, and I felt scowly and headachey as I stood in line.
The sound-system was playing "Under the Boardwalk." A deep baritone joined in for a few lines. I didn’t turn around.
"Come on! Sing with me!"
A short man in a purple suit was holding a huge bunch of greens to his chest, three customers back.
"Let’s make the cashiers happy! Let’s make them give the food away!" A checker grinned and shook her head.
"Look at these! Have you ever seen such pretty greens?" He shook them with a vegetable rattle. A woman asked him how he was going to cook them.
He spoke to the store at large. "I cook, sure. I cook all the time. I’m a great cook. But no, these aren’t for me. They’re for the rabbits." He heaved a dramatic sigh. "Those rabbits eat better than I ever do. Avocados. Raisins. Peanut butter, but only the fancy fresh kind. These greens. They eat more than me, too." He had such a big smile that just looking at him made me feel less scowly.
"Are they angora?" I asked. I had to know. I had visions of him spinning the fluff while they ate avocado on his lap.
He beamed at me. "No, lop-eared. Big lops. Great big lops. I get home from work, and sometimes I’ll sit on the couch. Maybe I’ll fall asleep. The white one, she’ll hop up and pull on my pants until I wake up. She wants her food."
"But Harriet," he paused for effect, looking at his audience — we were all rapt by now, "Harriet, she dances. Right in time to the music. She gives a little hop, like this. And then another to the left, see? Hop, hop, hop. Dancing! She dances for me when I’m tired. Who could be sad when Harriet dances like that?"
As I picked up my bags to leave, I told him it was the best thing I’d heard all day. He said that God would bless me. I walked out, thinking maybe he had.
*Lala’s Harriet dances too, with a waggy spinning tail. Must be in the name.
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