The road to almost anywhere seems to take you much longer than the
trip home. My brothers give me directions around Cleveland, forgetting
my crooked path that began on the lake which I call ‘home’ to the small
towns I have lived in and then back again, to visit again. The total number
of years away are much more than the years I lived at ‘home.’ I had lived 6
years in Bowling Green, Ohio, four while attending college and two while
young, newly married and teaching middle school. I spent 5 years farther
south, in Lancaster, Ohio, and a big chunk of 28 years in my chosen (picked
it on a map) location of Delaware, Ohio.
So, we valiantly set off to a short distance away to go shopping. Mom and I
were off on another one of our adventures, traveling around the city streets,
some I have forgotten their names. “Fasten your seat belt, Mom! Hold onto
your hat, since the windows will be down it is such a beautiful and warm
Mom and I ate lunch out at a casual location, fortifying for our shopping
expedition. So serious, that Mom had made a list and so had I! We were
heading towards Lorain Road (one town over, North Olmsted) from Center
Ridge Road (Westlake). We located the Dr.’s office we would go to on Wed.,
along with the Dr.’s office we would head towards on Thurs. Then, we were
on Busy and much traveled, Dover Center Road. We passed the church where
my early days of Girl Scouts had met, along with a house of where one of my
Mom’s favorite fellow Westlake (Demons) teachers had lived. They live out
West in Colorado, writing letters and exchanging cards with Mom.
When we arrived on Lorain Road, I traveled East first; nope! Wrong direction!
I saw an outstanding and extraordinarily low priced familiar gas station, where
there were several people, one elderly man who may have been retired, chatting
by the door of the place. It is one where Brazilian coffee has joined the hot brews,
along with my favorite cappuccino mixes. Having had three days of the Senior
Apartment brewed coffee, a little above average and the Maxwell House instant
coffee my Mom drinks all day, I decided to grab a flavored ice tea for Mom and
pre-pay for some gas. I left my Mom’s windows open and locked her in. We gave
a little laugh, since she knows I worry a lot about her memory and her safety, too.
I was told I was only a few hundred feet to get to Dollar General and only two
blocks away from Giant Eagle, whose plaza has a huge Volunteers of America
Thrift Store. I thanked the men who were gathered on the step of the gas station,
and gave the elderly, very genuinely concerned man a brief but sincere hug. He
laughed and said, “You made my day, Honey.”
Once we got in the doors of the V. of A. Thrift Store, we checked carefully for the
“Colors of the Day” chart. I repeated them twice to Mom, since the color of orange
meant 50% off the price tags of that color, the color of green meant a whopping
We spent over two hours searching for our own respective list of ‘clothing needs.’
Which for me usually includes dark and patterned shirts and jeans that are ‘not too
tight’ for my warehouse job. She was fascinated by the Halloween decorations, I had
to insist she had her ‘door and shelves covered with October décor.’ Once I had her
steered towards the relaxed pants and turtle necks part of the store, I could head off
into the misses and juniors areas. I went back to her twice, to find her cart piled
high in clothes she WISHED she could wear. I loved the attitude coming from her,
really like her sparkling belief that she can still wear pants with belts and shirts
with buttons. We had to put the black pin striped suit she wanted to wear ‘to go to
meetings in’ back. I got her to go back one row over where the pants were elastic-
waisted and the shirts were pullovers.
This time I headed off to the Sundries department. It makes you think of a garage
sale or one of those big flea markets that are set up on fairgrounds. Twice I had to
stop people to ask first, for the frames area and then, for the photo albums area.
I found five albums for my grandkids’ photos, various covers and styles from a
big pile of these. I liked the ones I found for the girls, one with flowers, another
with a geometric design and the ones for the boys, one had a red ‘leather’ look
for my oldest, Skyler and another had a green ‘leather’ look for Landen. The
others will be ‘jazzed up’ like I do with dollar store albums, using stickers and
little bit of acrylic paint designs. So much money saved and I may have told you
this summer I printed out 700 photographs, dating back to Fall, 2013. Yikes!
Blogging has taken me away from my usual careful seasonally printing off the
pictures and individually separating them into 6 distinct albums. My grandies
have looked more into their past, then their recent happenings, when they go
to my four foot stack of photo albums, one for each season of their lives.
The other great find was a beautiful mahogany or cherry antique frame to put
my #86 Birthday Gift to my Mother in. I know how much she loves Autumn
leaves and found a beautiful branched photograph, with multiple leaves of
brilliant shades to place a male red cardinal on and the step below him, a
female yellow cardinal perched on a branch. I painted this in watercolors,
starting in early October. The frame was a ‘firm’ price, not one that will be
reduced by its tag, $3.99. What a bargain! I gave my Mom her gift early, since
we have plans for dinner Wednesday with my youngest brother and his wife,
then on Friday with my ‘older’ brother, just 18 months younger than I. (We
ran around in a ‘pack’ from childhood through high school, 3 born in 4 years.)
Here were Mom’s purchases in a list:
1. Four pairs of elastic waist pants,
*Pink ones made of denim material, brand new condition. Mom’s favorite color.
*Blue jeans, a nice dark denim with large, deep pockets. She acknowledged their
benefits by saying,
“Robin, I can put tissues and my keys in this pocket and the doggie bags in the
other one. Some may call them doggie doo doo bags… but I also put her treats
from my dinner in them, too.” (Not at the same time nor same bag, may I add!)
*Black soft cotton material pants with pockets. They may resemble sweat pants,
but she wears this style to bed and to answer the door in the morning.
* Black sturdier, some acrylic/polyester material pants that look ‘dressy’ and less
worn. Mom exclaimed about her next three purchases that would be worn with
these same pants,
“Robin, look at this beautiful jacket for the holidays, this red turtleneck and this
red cowl necked sweater! You will not believe how lucky I was at finding them!”
Here is the best part of the red plaid wool jacket labeled, Norton McNaughton,
with its black velvet color and such a Scottish printed plaid:
It was marked “99 cents” and happened to be a green tag, so take 75% off and
Mom paid only one quarter for this jacket, with its freshly dry cleaned tag attached.
The trip back home was short and sweet, we sipped our tea, (Mom’s) and coffee,
(mine) quite content to bask in our wonderful purchases. We stopped on the way
home to sit in the woods of Bradley Woods Park, looking at the busy squirrels, the
chirping birds and sun glowing colors of Autumn. I pulled out of my purse two
Milky Way bars and two little dark chocolate Hershey kisses. We felt like we were
almost in Heaven.
A flyer in Mom’s door had a religious message but I loved the
The clock of life is wound but once,
and no man has the power
to tell just when the hands will stop
at late or early hour.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more.
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no one can restore.”
(Author Unknown, found on a religious tract)
*As far as I am concerned,
in this poem, the word, “soul”
can mean our enthusiasm and
sometimes Grace. ~Robin E. O. Cochran