Showdown at Piggly Wiggly
This Week’s Issue: Homer, Micah, and Louella all think they really know Isabel. In today’s issue they are surprised to realize that people DO change. Isabel’s recent weight loss has brought about some unexpected changes at Faded Glory Farm.
Most of the time, Micah Davenport and Louella Hess shop locally for the fruits, vegetables, snacks and groceries that are not usually provided by our food purveyors from over in Gainesville. Isabel’s traditional shopping forays are usually limited to her visits to Hans Stutzmeyer, her German butcher, and sensible old Isabel even eats lunch or breakfast before she goes, so that she won’t “impulse purchase. At Faded Glory, the cavernous pantry and walk-in cooler are usually bursting with fresh and delicious foods destined for the Inn’s table. Of course, some of the food in that huge walk-in cooler has celebrated a birthday already. Food literally gets lost in there! Isabel is usually quite frugal and very organized, but she is not without her idiosyncrasies, however.
Like many a fastidious small business owner, when Isabel becomes aware of a small deficiency, missing staple or delicacy, she tends to over-compensate for the void by going shopping. Louella refers to this as “meddling;” Ray called it “obsessive-compulsive behavior;” and I call it “just plain ol’ Isabel.” I can remember Ray once saying that if he didn’t have his pickup truck, the Whitlow family would most certainly starve to death because when Isabel would go on “one of her tears, her faithful Ford Taurus just couldn’t begin to haul the load.”
Louella knows better than to run low on White Lily Flour or her precious tins of lard; but this time, Faded Glory’s kitchen ran smack out of strawberry jam and orange marmalade. Micah knew that it was only a matter of time before Isabel would enlist his aid (and subsequent presence) for the inevitable trip to the Piggly Wiggly food market in Blue Ridge. Within fifteen minutes, Isabel was rummaging through the cash box in her desk and headed towards her new Lincoln with Micah in tow. Because Micah and Isabel banter frequently and ‘kid’ each other mercilessly, Micah doesn’t hesitate to describe forays like this in good-natured, if not hilarious, detail. Sometimes I think Micah enjoys “living on the edge,” but Isabel never takes his remarks personally and ends up laughing right along with him.
Nobody really knows what motivates Isabel at times like this, because she certainly isn’t a hoarder. Micah once postulated on this quirk being “The Tara Syndrome” where Scarlett O’Hara reputedly said “I”ll never be hungry again!” Even though she planned to replenish our supply of jam and marmalade, everyone at Faded Glory knew that Isabel would arrive home in two or three hours with half of Piggly Wiggly’s in-store inventory.
Prior to Isabel’s unexpected financial windfall from the sale of the Stoddard Farm, she would always compare prices and ponder quantities before tossing items into her shopping cart, but, since then, Isabel shops without reservation; virtually anything goes!
Well, people evidently DO change; old habits fall by the wayside, and Micah, Louella and I were, this time, proven to be wrong. The new Isabel, the trimmer, dietary conscious, health-minded Isabel would prevail this time and surprise us all. Even though she didn’t eat (usually a bad sign) before heading out to Piggly Wiggly with Micah, Isabel headed straight to the condiments aisle when she got to the store. There, she stocked up on a variety of jams, jellies, and marmalade. Even a case of peanut butter made it into her cart, but this purchase proved to be the only, and worst, of isabel’s indulgences this time. Evidently Isabel’s four month Weight Watchers’ odyssey earlier this year took it’s toll on Isabel’s “food libido.” The candies, cookies, pickles, olives, almonds, canned cashews, peanuts, sardines, smoked salmon, pasta, and frozen pizzas of yesteryear were all but forgotten this time. Years ago, the staff at Piggly Wiggly thought that Isabel was buying for a commune filled with pregnant women; we still have unopened jars of pickles and olives left over from her last trip. These days, since Isabel’s Weight Watchers epiphany, Faded Glory Farm still “goes over the top” with it’s decadent “gastronomical” delights, but we now feature a new menu component created especially for the weight conscious individuals among our guests. The writing is on the wall, and things are a’ changing!
Now here’s the best part of the story. When Isabel finished buying her jams, jellies, and peanut butter, where do you think she headed? Micah reports that she she made a bee-line for the dog-food aisle! Two cases of Herrmann’s Horse Meat and three cases of Alpo Extra-Meaty dogwood later, Isabel was at the checkout counter with a full grocery cart and an incredible look of satisfaction on her face. Micah was standing by her side trying to figure out what was happening.
Languishing quietly on the porch of Faded Glory at the time, I was, of course, clueless to the surprise outcome of Isabel’s shopping escapade. But, when Isabel and Micah returned to the Inn, she could hardly contain herself before breaking the news to me. Isabel knows that I’m getting along in years and that I suffered great anxiety and food withdrawal during her diet a few months back. I’m guessing this was her way of saying “Sorry, Homer.” I am, and probably always will be, a practicing carnivore and Isabel knows it; it’s just what we dogs do!
And Isabel is “just Isabel,” and nobody else on earth is going to change that. Bon appetite!