I ran out the door at 7 am, with a rice cake and a date cookie to sustain me for the day.
As I passed the stop sign for the next little town, it looked as though perhaps there were more than just a few houses down the street. So, I pulled off the highway and wandered through small-town America for a bit. It was all so classic - a few little antique stores and handcraft shops; an old man leaning against the wall under the awning of a little shop smoking a pipe.
I sighed, wondering why the whole town decided not to do business on Mondays.
And then I saw it - a little health food store set back from the crumbling sidewalk! A faded orange "OPEN" sign hung in the window. Maybe I would find some lunch here! Certainly they would have plain yogurt or.... something. I pushed the creaky door open and stepped inside. As usual, the smell of herbs, spices and bulk foods permeated the atmosphere.
Nobody was in sight. At the counter, a few papers hung here and there proclaiming, "Fresh organically raised lamb!" or "Homegrown vegetables - Call Marla."
Then a little lady appeared out of the back. Thin, stringy white hair hung down her back over her organic hemp blouse. Her Birkenstocks looked worn and well-loved. Her flowing skirt looked like it belonged in a field of daisies. Most notably though, her little brown face looked aged and etched with care. It was thin as was the rest of her.
"Are you looking for something?" she asked helpfully.
"Oh.. no... I'm just... looking. Nothing in particular," I replied, hoping that she wouldn't expect me to buy something if I didn't find lunch material among the bags of stone-ground rye flour and packages of dried mango.
"Do you live around here?" she inquired a bit puzzled.
"No, I don't. I live over by ___."
"Oh!" she said, this time with just a bit of interest rising in her slow, tired voice. "So you must know ___ ?"
Actually, I didn't know her aquaintance.