I've Lived Through Worse Winters

Reads: 153  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just a story

Submitted: February 05, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 05, 2019

A A A

A A A


Winter is but half spent. Spring is so far away I cannot glimpse it. I begin tiring of winter in November even before it’s official declaration. By January, I am always damn tired of it. Customers at my store are more difficult this time of year for all sorts of reasons. Finances may be depleted, the weather is cold and often damp, the slow moving lines are too long and the holiday spirit has dissipated . I began work on register 21 at 8:00 this morning. Sunday’s are normally slow in the a.m. and extremely busy in the p.m. Around 9:30 a gentleman approached my register from the opposite direction customers usually do. He was a casually dressed guy in his mid to late 50's. He announced, “ I wanna pay the bill for these two ladies in your line.” I was taken aback. In fact, I regarded him with great suspicion. He spoke quickly to absolve it. He said, “Look, don't be concerned. I'm a retired colonel from New York visiting some old friends at Whiteman. When I walked in this store a minute ago something told me to go to this register and do this. I'm totally on the up and up. If it is okay with the ladies, I would love to do this.” The fist woman in line said she certainly didn't have a problem with it. She had a big smile on her face and by this time I was smiling too. The second lady looked embarrassed and said nothing. The first bill was 26 something. I'm part comedian so I could not pass up the opportunity to razz the customer. “Hey, I said, as he was paying her bill, it's a shame you didn't know this guy was coming. You coulda got a lot more stuff.” Her and the colonel laughed while the next lady in line remained silent and continued to look uncomfortable. After the transaction was complete the kind gentleman was rewarded with a beautiful smile, a warm handshake and a sincere thank you. The second customer began putting her items on the belt. I try to make eye contact with each customer during the initial greeting. It's a fleeting gesture. It's my job but it can also help me judge the mood of the person I am dealing with. Sometimes they are reluctant because they are concerned with getting out of the store as quickly as possible. More often they are chatting it up with other customers, trying to corral toddlers or obsessing with a cell phone. Her eyes locked into mine. She could not face her benefactor. I could see the gratitude in her eyes. I was scanning her items, watching her eyes fill with tears and begin to trickle toward her tense lips. She had this incredible look in her eyes as if she was desperately trying to convey to me how much this meant to her. I suppose I might have been trying to communicate the same feeling. I finished scanning her items. My screen was kind of blurry but with not a little effort I could make out the total. It was 179 something. He paid it joyfully. Another customer jumped in my line but I kept most of my attention on the previous one and the colonel. She gave him a big hug. I eavesdropped on the conversation enough to hear some talk about a job loss, a job search and a difficult transition. As I was driving home I thought only of this incident. When I pulled into my driveway it was already getting dark, the temperature was in the low 30's and quickly descending. There was a light rain threatening to freeze. I exited my vehicle and felt the brutal biting wind tear at my face. It would be rough driving in the morning. But I have lived through worse winters.


© Copyright 2020 Caleb McVey. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Non-Fiction Short Stories