John was on his usual Sunday Store Trip. It was always a different one. 4 of them to be exact:  Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Meijer and Target. One Month worth of rotation. He was searching for familiar faces in the crowds of people he encountered. If he did spy someone, he locked his eyes on them, waited for some sort of reaction that would let him know, the other one remembered him too. He’d walk up to them with a smile and hold his hand out. He waited for that human touch, and a short conversation.
7 years ago he had to start letting most of his employees go. 1 by one he had to make that heart breaking decision. He felt horrible, Jim, and his 2 year marriage, just starting a family, and she was having their first little one the month after.  Diana, the store cashier and customer service person, her husband had just retired from the factory down on Paton Drive.
Neal, Diana’s youngest brother, an eager and motivated fellow, just learning, taking first steps in the world of the Work Force.
He tried keeping Bob as long as he could, but when the incoming wouldn’t even cover the outgoing anymore, he had to let him go as well. Bob was his top electrician. He knew when he couldn’t be at the shop, Bob would have it all squared away. Especially when his wife fell sick, Bob covered the store a lot.
John had to be by his wife’s bedside, and everyone knew it. She recovered, for a little while, and then had a relapse. All her organs shut down, one by one, until finally, she took her last breath. And John was alone.
He sat at home a lot for the longest time, but one day, their daughter came over and grabbed him out of his arm chair he seemed to have been stuck in for at least 6 months. They went over their house and some of Johns relatives were there. Once he was dropped back off at home, given a hug and a big kiss from Bethany, his only grandchild, he retired. The next morning he got up and started searching for those familiar faces.
Now Back to Johns Sunday morning store trip. This week he was at Target, looking for items out of their weekly circular. Not to buy them, just to look at them.
There were a lot of appliances this week. He strolled towards that area. He spotted an employee and asked if she knew where the Teijvana Braville one was that’s featured on their front page. She led him to the location, and he started chatting her up about cleaning appliances. That he had to buy a new device,  because his fried in the dishwasher when he cleaned it. He noticed her puzzled look. “What do you mean fried in the dishwasher?” she asked.
 John continued: “I wash all my appliances in the dishwasher. It’s safe! It takes a little longer for them to dry, but that’s how you keep them looking like new. You just can’t keep them in the drying mode of course. They will have to air-dry.”
“oh”, the young lady responded. “really?” …..
To be continued…. 1-2  3 of 2013
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