By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published April 30, 2020
I didn’t sleep well the night before my big adventure. Every few minutes, I’d awaken and mull over the plan.
I’d list the positives and feel confident the endeavor would be a success, but when the potential pitfalls came to mind, I became discouraged.
The alarm sounded at 5:15 and I decided to put aside my misgivings and forge ahead. I drank a big cup of extra strong coffee, while my cat slept soundly on the chair across from me, unaware of the drama soon to unfold.
At 6:45, I put on my jacket and walked outside into the dark and chilly morning. The street was empty. Climbing into my car, I made the sign of the cross and whispered a prayer.
This would not be a long journey, I reminded myself, requiring dangerously high speeds and hairpin curves. In fact, it was only a mile to my destination, where I parked and waited for the appointed time.
As I sat there, I envisioned the courageous St. George battling a big, snarling dragon. “Give me his courage, Lord, to conquer my fears.”
At precisely 7 a.m., I exited my car and walked cautiously across the parking lot, glancing left and right, aware that danger could lurk anywhere. Instead of carrying a sword to fend off a giant beast, I clutched a bright pink mask and a slip of paper.
And as I safely entered the grocery store and grabbed a cart, I realized I had successfully completed the first phase of “Adventure: Coronavirus Shopping.”
Mustering up my courage, I managed to maneuver safely around oncoming carts. I followed the lines on the floor, while hoping my hay fever wouldn’t cause an unexpected sneeze—which might cause panic among my fellow shoppers.
There was one perilous moment, when I spotted a clerk in the produce section, who smiled broadly at me, but wasn’t wearing a mask. I sped up my pace, grabbed some lettuce and managed to elude him.
My attention was soon diverted by some amazing discoveries. There were eggs on the shelves. There were bags of all-purpose flour. And the most astonishing thing of all, which stopped me in my tracks, was the presence of toilet paper!
Two women were examining the packages, so I bided my time and approached cautiously. The sign said, “One per customer,” so I took my allotted portion and swung safely out of the aisle.
I checked my watch, noting everything was going as planned. It was only 7:30, and most of my shopping was done. The cashier and I exchanged hidden smiles behind our masks as I paid the bill.
Back at home I relayed the details of my adventure to the cat, who seemed totally unfazed. In fact, he was only interested in the cans of cat food I’d just put on the shelf.
Later that day when friends called to ask, “What’s new?” I was delighted to have an answer for them.
“I went grocery shopping today,” I said, with the same pride in my voice as someone who had climbed Mount Everest.
St. George only had to conquer the dragon once, but for shoppers, the battle won’t end with one trip to the store. And when the cupboard is again bare, I will don my trusty mask and head out again to slay my fears. Let’s pray my courage doesn’t fail me.
Painting of St. George is by Lorraine’s late husband, Jef. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.