We've been friends with Hiram and Bonnie for more than thirty years. They moved into the house they built next door just weeks before we moved into ours 24 years ago so we have a lot of history together. I might have wondered about that friendship when they sold theirs a few years later but they built and sold several others in the intervening years so we didn't take it personally. In fact, we jokingly tell them they've lived in more houses in the years we've know them than Wayne and I have our entire lives...combined. And it's true.
So when Hiram's mother passed away at the end of last week, we were on board to help in any way possible. Over those many years of friendship, we had plenty of contact with Miss Barbara (in the South every woman is called Miss Xxxxx) who was one of the sweetest people ever. She lived a long and happy life and will be missed by those who knew and loved her.
We were only too happy to be part of the team bringing and serving food to the family after the funeral. Charlotte, another close friend, and I were in charge of securing a giant box of fried chicken from Walmart and delivering it to Bonnie's house where the family would be gathering. Easy enough, right?
Now when I say giant, I mean GIANT. The chicken was just out of the fryer when we walked up to the deli case and in a matter of minutes they were packing that hot chicken into the biggest takeout box I'd ever seen. It was shaped like one you'd get for a box lunch where the top portion of the sides all fold in to not only close the box but also form a handle to carry it with. The clerk slapped a label on the top of the box and handed it to us with instructions to keep one hand on the bottom so it didn't come apart.
As we're walking to the checkout area, I asked Charlotte if she thought we could go through the self-check. After all, we only had one item. Sure, she said, confident we could figure out how to scan the label on the top without spilling hot chicken all over the checkout stand.
There are six or eight self-check stations at our Walmart and they were all busy but fortunately for us, a man picked up his sack and walked away from one of the machines as we walked up. We hurried to it and began the process of figuring just how much and at what angle to tip the giant box and where to hold on to keep the contents inside. We were soon rewarded with the familiar chirp of a successful scan.
Then the machine began talking to us...in Spanish. I looked at Charlotte; Charlotte looked at me. It was truly a Lucy and Ethel kind of moment.
It finally occurred to us that the man who had walked away was Hispanic and he'd selected Spanish when he started his transaction. We'd rushed up and started ours without making a language selection so I guess they machine just stuck with Spanish.
The machine said something else to us in Spanish, probably that we should put our purchase in the bagging area but I don't know since I don't speak much Spanish beyond taco and quesadilla. Do you see anywhere on here that we can change this back to English? I asked Charlotte. Neither of us did.
I was reluctant to push any buttons since I had no idea what they said. We could see the total purchase was what we were expecting so I was willing to gamble. I know, I said. I'll put my debit card through the machine and see if that closes out the transaction. Sure enough, as soon as I scanned the card the screen changed and the machine began to give us more instructions, still in Spanish. I didn't have to know a foreign language to know I needed to follow the instructions on the card reader which, fortunately, were in English. I've done that enough in the past I think I could do it without instructions but it was still comforting to know what was on the buttons before I pushed them.
Receipt in hand, I resisted the urge to tell the machine muchas gracias; I didn't want to toss around my entire Spanish repertoire all in one sentence. So off we went with our giant box of fried chicken and a few giggles too.