Small Town Heroes

I like to go grocery shopping early, but today I waited until 9 a.m. because I saw the notice that the hour between 8 and 9 was reserved for the vulnerable. That was easy. I can wait. I went in to do my weekly shopping and saw empty shelves – a sight I never see in my Port Hope YIG (Davis’ Your Independent Grocer) as they are always quite efficient at having the shelves stocked and in great shape. I suddenly had a greater appreciation for people living in places where they experience this as a regular part of life. I had a tiny glimpse into what war time and post war rationing must have been like. It was only a tiny glimpse of course because the reality was that I still got everything I needed/wanted. There was no No Name Quick Oats so I bought Steel Cut oats instead and will enjoy the change. I couldn’t find dried soup mix, so I bought extra fresh and frozen vegetables and will enjoy the simple pleasure of chopping. I am not suffering any hardship here. And there were tulips – the Dutch symbol of hope; tulip bulbs having kept my parents alive during WW2, so I bought a bunch of those.

As a Loblaw retiree, I think back on my work life. I remember how I routinely popped out at lunch time to visit my elderly mother in a care facility in Brampton. I never once had to consider that by virtue of leaving my Brampton office I may be putting my mother in harm’s way. I recall how the most stressful days consisted of making sure that my analysis was right, and the numbers would pass the required scrutiny to get into the power point ‘dec’ for the annual meeting. Or how my colleagues and I might work extra hours to ensure that the new products would make ‘1st billing’ for the Insider’s Report launch date. No matter what, I NEVER had to think that my job may be life threatening.

Today when I finished shopping and went to check out, Michelle greeted me with a smile. She asked me how I was today. She told me to take my time as I bagged my groceries into my own bags because it gave her a moment to do a bit of extra cleaning. I asked her if she was nervous coming to work and she admitted she was a little. And yet, here she is, working, smiling, chatting. Michelle is a hero, because isn’t that the very definition of a hero? Someone who carries on – not because they are oblivious to the risk, or they feel invincible, but because they feel they should. They see the risk; they are worried about it and yet they do it anyway. And do it with a smile, hiding whatever worries they have for their own loved ones, away from sight.

So – to Michelle, and her colleagues, and all those others who are keeping our society going – hats off to you for your courage. You are our heroes.

10 Comment

  1. Great post, reminds us all how challenging other people’s lives are. As I sit here and read your post it’s reminded me that saying thank you to those who keep this world going is so important. Equally important is when things do return to the new normal is to give back even more to support those less fortunate then us. Thanks for your post Renny.

  2. Great post Renny, I had similar thoughts about countries that suffer through shortages. I also thought about wartime rationing and how my mother’s stories of rough times were surely downplayed. I’m grateful for the grocery cashiers and the cashiers at the pharmacy too. We’ll get through. Be safe.

    1. Thank you for your response Vera – these are times to be thoughtful. Let’s hold on to that sensitivity when things return to the ‘old world’

  3. Lovely post, Renny. Now we’ve got to hope that grocery store cashiers don’t all get sick at once! They’ve now become an essential service.

    1. Thank you for your comment Lisa – indeed they are essential, as are so many others that we may not usually pay enough attention to in the ‘normal’ scheme of our busy lives.

  4. Renny,
    Thank you for the beautiful blog post about our small town grocery store. I can’t tell you how much it means to me & all my colleagues that you know that we care for our community as a whole. You’ve shed a positive light to situation given. I believe the feeling I have is simply grateful. I’m grateful for this beautiful town I live in & the people that reside here. Grateful for the job I have & that I’m able to do it. Grateful that I have a home to go to with a bed & food. These are trying times for everyone right now but I’ve counted my blessings & I’m thankful. Thank you Renny for making my day. 😊 It’s always nice to get positive feedback from our valued customers. 💕 Stay safe.

    1. I’m glad to be able to give voice to what I know so many people are thinking and feeling. Thank you again! Please do let your colleagues know that we notice!

      1. Hi Renny and Michelle — my trip to No Frills was similar. As a senior with a prediliction for pneumonia I took the early shift. I also thanked my cashier and watched tears well in her eyes. Like those in mine in response. Not everyone recognizes the risk and the selflessness of those who continue to work outside the home. “Thank you” is a simple phrase but especially important these days. Stay safe and stay well.

        1. Yes Ruth – I think one of the silver linings of this whole thing is that we have been forced into an awareness of the critical nature of the often-overlooked work of those who keep our lives running. The other benefit is that Mother Earth is enjoying some breathing space from the manufacturing, car pollution, etc. Dolphins in the Venice canals – how wonderful is that?!

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