I met Miss Ellie about three years ago at my local grocery store. While debating in front of the coffee creamers “Should I get peppermint mocha or be good and get the sugar free vanilla?” Miss Ellie approached me out of no where. “You want to know something?” Startled, I turned around, not quite sure knowing what to expect. There she was, the tiny elderly lady who I will quickly get to know as Miss Ellie. She had on a straw hat. A rather large straw hat that covered her mostly grey bob. Blue overalls and a flannel shirt completed what I would call her “Farm Girl” look. I do not live in farm country. I live in a suburb of Seattle. So, this was strange.
I probably hesitated a little too long before I cautiously replied “Me?”
Miss Ellie grabbed my arm and some what guided me back to my cart which was maybe only two feet in front of me. “Look here, you see your pocketbook? Let me tell you a secret, you need to buckle it in with these here straps that you use to buckle up a little one. Because any ole hoodlum can come and just snatch up your pocketbook and you would never know because you are looking at them coffee creamer. That stuff is bad for you anyway, drink your coffee black.”
For some reason I felt the need to apologize to Miss Ellie. “Yes mam, you make a very good point, buckle my purse in and black coffee, thank you for your advice.”
A pleased Miss Ellie say goodbye with a “Well, alright then, have a good day, and next time I see you in here, buckle up your pocketbook.”
Miss Ellie did have a point. I am so careless at times, I never pay attention to where may purse is. Makes mental not to buckle my purse in.
As time went on, I would see Miss Ellie once every two months or so for the next three years. She not only did her pocketbook routine with me, but with every other female shopper who was alone in the store. It got to the point where every time I saw her coming, or shall I say every time I saw her straw hat coming, I would quickly try to buckle in my purse so she would not lecture me.
She still always lectured me.
I saw Miss Ellie today. Probably the first time in about five months. Today was slightly different. I had a return to do, so I headed straight towards the return desk. Miss Ellie had just finished up her purchase at the register, and as soon as she saw me, and I saw the straw hat, I knew there was no time to buckle in my purse. “Miss Ellie, I was just about to buckle my purse in when I saw you.”
Miss Ellie is no fool. “Let me tell you something, I have been around for a very long time, do not lie to me. You were as close to buckling your pocketbook in as I was to go buy me one of them skimpy swimsuits. Now buckle your pocket book while I watch.”
Damn, Miss Ellie is tough!
We chatted for a few minutes, and then she gave me some coupons she had no use for. Specifically V8 and adult diapers.
I had no use for them either, and was almost wondering if I should be insulted, and then Miss Ellie grabbed my arm. “Let me tell you something. Ya know I was in here the other day. I told some lady everything I have told you. Buckle your pocketbook in so no hoodlums will run off with it. You know what she told me? She told me “I do not need your advice” So I told her don’t come cry to me when a hoodlum steals your pocketbook. I know most people see me as a crazy old lady but I know how those hoodlums are. You go on and finish your shopping. You’re a good one. You always talk to me.”
And then she quickly scurried off, wiping her eyes with her handkerchief.
I do not know Miss Ellie’s story. I do not know if she has a family or if she is all alone. A cashier told me she believes Miss Ellie lives in an assisted living home, but who knows. What I do know about her is she is a very sweet lady. Tough, but sweet. So if any of you three people who may be reading this happen to come in contact with your own Miss Ellie, well, good luck to you.
*This blog post was part of mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. A blog post inspired by the word “sweet”