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“………..for Dummies”

July 26, 2012

I’m a natural born people watcher. Nothing fascinates me more than watching the people who amble in and out of the days of my life! Take yesterday! I spent a couple of lunchtime hours at Barnes and Noble……you know that one, the bookstore to the neighborhoods of America. Always a colorful place full of energy, great music in the background, a good deli, laughing kids, studious students buried in their laptops, business people with phones grafted to their ears, and retired couples unconsciously attentive to each other’s every move.

I picked out a few of my favorite magazines, ordered a venti (that’s large) passion fruit tea and a blueberry scone and settled down at one of those cute little round bistro tables. It was my intention to dive right into “Cowboys and Indians”……yes, part of me is definitely cowgirl at heart. I love all things western…..Montana, the mountains, the ranches, the rivers, Montana, the art, the music, the oversized leather furniture in those fabulous log homes, the over the top silver and turquoise jewelry, did I say Montana….. and I definitely covet a wrist watch made by the Montana Watch Company in Livingston, Montana! So this month’s issue features Lou Diamond Phillips on its cover and I had just started browsing the art section, when my out of the corner of my eye I noticed an elderly gentleman at the table next to me.

His shaggy white eyebrows were thick and sat wildly askew on his forehead. Large black rimmed glasses rode low on the bridge of his nose and a bushy white mustache drooped haphazardly across his mouth……a mouth that moved as he read quietly but out loud from the book so firmly gripped by large arthritic hands. It was a large yellow and black paper back whose title I could clearly see across the aisle…..”How to Improve Your Memory for Dummies.” I almost laughed out loud and wished I had my camera with me. It was such a sweet, poignant sight. He was so earnest, oblivious to everything around him, and reading steadily…. out loud! I watched him from behind my magazine for awhile but my attention was interrupted abruptly when a little girl flew by, yelling at the top of her lungs.

“I have to go pee, Grandpa. I have to go NOW! I can’t hold it Grandpa. HURRY!” She was about 4, dressed from head to toe in pink…..pink jelly shoes, pink frilly, layered skirt, and a pink sleeveless tank with sparkles …. long blond pigtails and big blue eyes. A lady in distress. No doubt about it. But she had been there before and knew her way as she made a bee line for the powder room, with a slightly bedraggled Grandpa hustling behind her. A titter went through the deli area as several of us watched in amusement.

Down a couple tables or so a young woman sat, eyes closed, ear plugs in. Tall and slim, her dark hair fell around her shoulders and caught the sunlight as she tossed her head and flipped it off her forehead. She swayed slightly, wtih the beat of the music, no doubt. Dressed in an ankle length floral sundress, flat strappy sandals, a leather braided bracelet on one wrist, long silver dangles in her ears, and multiple strands of dark wooden beads around her neck, she looked to be the perfect hippie….except that of course this is 2012. There aren’t any hippies anymore, are there?

Across the room at a table for six sat a group of women, all in their 40s and 50s would be my guess. They were an animated bunch, sharing drinks, sandwiches and cheescake between them as they chattered over piles of books scattered across the table. I could hear bits and pieces of conversation interspersed with giggles and sometimes gales of laughter. Dear friends? A book club? Sisters, cousins? I’ll never know but their easy comraderie and easy chatter made me smile.

I smiled as I thought about my own group of friends. Sadly I don’t get to have lunch with them every week at Barnes and Noble. But they too are a colorful bunch. I call on them often in my head and know that just like the eccentric characters who frequent Barnes and Noble every day, they too will always be there providing me the stories of my life.

Wishing you all colorful characters, good times, and happy stories.

Chatty Grandma

 

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