Friday, October 01, 2010

Groceries, or "Here, take my car!"

During the one break in yesterday's nearly non-stop, 24-hour downpour here in Chesapeake City, MD, Evan and I set out with our recently-acquired, collapsible granny cart to see the town and get some groceries. Chesapeake City is actually not a city, but a historic village of wooden houses dating back to the mid-1800s, so it came as no surprise to discover that the village has no grocery store. Our only hope, a storefront marked General Store, turned out to be a giftshop.

The nearest gas station convenience store was over a mile away, and the nearest supermarket about six miles. No public transportation. We decided to give the gas station store a try for eggs and veggies and such.  We snapped pics of neat old houses on our way out of the village, but then the sidewalk ended and it was time to concentrate on avoiding cars and cart-destroying pebbles. It also dawned on us, now that walking to the store was no longer that scenic, to call ahead and see if the gas station store even had what we wanted. It didn't.

So we turned around and retraced our steps; we would just have to wait for Annapolis to get our groceries. Two minutes later, a woman stopped her SUV to ask if we were ok. We told her we were fine, just looking for a grocery store! She said ok, glad we weren't stranded, and drove off.

When we reached the edge of the village proper, the screen door to a small white wooden house sprang open, and a tall man came out and asked us if we were looking for something. He'd seen us pass the first time, then again this time, and figured we might need help. We told him about our hunt for groceries, and he said, "That's way on the other side of the bridge. Can't walk that. I can drive you if you want. I'm just hanging out here."

What? Evan and I couldn't believe it! Was it the granny cart? Walking to and fro with no obvious destination in sight? To top it off, then he said, "Or you can take my car! Here, take the car. I trust you." He went in and fetched the keys and handed them to Evan. (Hmph). I asked him his name; it was Jeff, and we shook hands all around.  Off we went, Evan and I driving a slightly beat-up Volvo to Redner's Warehouse--Employee Owned supermarket, which was miles away. I still couldn't believe Jeff trusted us to take his car! And he'd have done it without knowing our names! He wasn't even a sailor! (Boat people, like Gary back in Manasquan, often offer to drive cruisers around on errands because they have been in their shoes before.)

Then we got to Redner's, and I have to say I was impressed. I don't know why I have the impression that American supermarkets should be, by and large, crappy and full of only processed food, because so far that hasn't been the case. (I think my prejudice stems from one popular explanation for American obesity, which is that most Americans don't get unprocessed, fresh food in their supermarkets. Based on my short experience so far, I would guess it's not so much that fresh ingredients are completely unavailable as Americans might not choose or know how to cook with them. But I digress a la Jamie Oliver.) ShopRite in Manasquan was great, and Redner's here was amazing! It had KIMCHI! It also had great organic selection too. Prices were extremely reasonable, much lower than, say, Gristede's back in NY. We got more than eggs and veggies, needless to say.

After we'd dropped our groceries off on the boat, we drove back to Jeff's with cookies and chocolate for him. He came out as we were parking, thanked us for the goodies with a "Glad I could help!" and that was that. I was a little disappointed not to chat with him and get to know a little about him, but wow, he really did offer his car just to be of help.

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