One morning this week I went to my school (I guess I should say former school, but I love it and the people in it so much, I still feel a possessiveness). I went to work on the fall decorations. Which they could do perfectly well without me…but, don’t anybody tell them, cause I love it when they call me! We started building piles of leaves, and then I left to go to Mich*el’s to get some more supplies! I found some great deals there. Almost every bit of fall decor is at least 40% off! I can sure work with that! So, I’ll head back over there tomorrow and finish up.

So, it is only about 95 degrees here today. I was so hot, that I had to stop by S*nic for a bit of refreshment before I finished my work. A grilled cheese sandwich and a large diet cherry coke with extra cherry! Yep, that did it! Now it is off to W*l-M*rt for groceries. Fun, fun, fun! Don’t usually buy groceries there, but there are some things Alex wants and that is the only place to get them.

OK. Not that I’m looking, but I have been known to find some ‘special’ people here. Even though I didn’t need anything…I thought it may be a good idea to walk through the home decor and fall decor items. Just in case there was something else I should get for the school. There wasn’t, but I did find a few things for my friend who has just built a house. I ended up by the candles…and there she was…waiting for me. This ‘older than me “lady was huffing and puffing like she had never worked so hard in her life! She was pulling the tops off of all the candles and smelling them. She would say, “No, that smells like poop.” (Only she did not say poop…she said a different word). She pulled off another lid. “D…,” she said, “is it all poop?” And, just so you know how I knew right off how special she was…there was no one else standing near her. Who was she talking to? And then I saw the top shelf of the candle aisle. There were about 12 candles there…with no tops! Just sitting there…topless as could be! She went on…talking to no one in particular…certainly not to me ’cause I refused to make eye contact with her! I know better! “I guess they have a whole ‘poop’ factory just for making their candles !” she said. And, friends, I knew it was going to happen. I could just feel it in my bones…I knew. I was about to get pulled into this lovely conversation with Ms. Potty Mouth. “OH, Lord, let me be nice.”

PM (Potty Mouth) Hey! ( she yelled at me from across the aisle) Have you ever bought any of these stinkin’ candles? (I could feel her eyes on me.)

T……Oh, are you talking to me?

PM…I am. What do you think ’bout these candles? I think they all smell like poop.

T….Well, I actually like some of them. I burn this one alot this time of year. (And, I picked up the one I like…Cranberry Mandarin)

PM…Well, what does it smell like?

T…It smells like oranges and cranberries. I love the way it smells…it reminds me of fall cooking! (Not that I would really know about that, but she didn’t need to know that.)

PM…Give it here and let me see what I think.

I thought of telling her to get her own candle and smell it…but, I didn’t, cause I knew that she could and would call me something not very nice.

T…Here you go. How do you like that one?

PM…Hmmpf. It’s OK, I guess. Does it get ‘sickly’ smelling after a while?

‘Sickly smelling’? I had not a clue what she meant. Would you know?

T…I don’t know about ‘sickly’, but I don’t get tired of it and it makes my whole house smell nice.

PM…Well, I reckon I can get one and try it. At least it don’t smell like …{ I looked up and caught her eye just as she was making the ‘sh’ sound} But, she thought better of it and instead it came out like…. ‘shh bad’.

I noticed , again, the 12 or so candles she had opened and left opened on the top shelf…

T…Here, let me help you close these candles back up.

PM…Shug, they ain’t no need to do that. They got plenty of people working round here. Just leave it be. Gives ’em something to do. Now, you sure ’bout this candle?

T…Yes, Mam. It’s one I buy every year at this time.

PM…Well, I hope you’s telling the truth ’bout it. If it ain’t good, I’m bringing it back.

And with that, she put it in her buggy, turned around and came back and got another one just like it, and walked off into the sunset.

I, on the other hand, stood there and played match-up with the tops to the 200 candles she had opened! I would felt bad if someone saw me walking away and thought I had opened all those candles. So, I closed them all, and went on my way.

I went through as quickly as possible, and was almost to the check out aisles. I stopped at the deli to ask if they had any rotisserie chickens. Yes. Yes, they did. I happened to be at check out #25…and they were down by check out #1. Of course that is where they would be. That’s down by the pharmacy and the dog food, oh yeah, and the candles. That’s where I would put my rotisserie chickens.

While I was asking about the chickens, I noticed a young lady with a little boy about 4 years old. He was screaming, “Let me down! Let me down! Let me down NOW!” And, the poor girl did. And, folks, he took off running and ran down the aisle, out the front doors of the store and was across the pick up lane and out into the parking lot! He was running as fast as he could…and best I could tell, he didn’t look like he had any intentions of stopping! Kinda like my sweet old dog Scooter who’s running in Heaven now…when he would manage to slip out the opened door, he would run and run and run and then run a little more! When I saw him run to the door, I backed up to watch him, cause Mom wasn’t moving very fast! “He’s gone out the door…” I told her. She ran toward the door…then she thought of her purse in the basket and ran back and then she thought of her boy and ran back the other way. I told her, “Go get him, I’ll stay here with your stuff!” And, off she went! Y’all it was a good 15 minutes before she got back! She came back in huffing and puffing and holding him in her arms. “Put me down! Put me down!” he was saying. “I ain’t no fool, boy!” she said. And, she thanked me, and thanked me.

I had to walk all the way to the other end of the 25 checkout lanes…of which 3 are opened!….to get the rotisserie chicken. Then I began looking for a lane with a body behind it. There, walking across the aisle,was a little lady. She noticed me and said, “I reckon you’re looking to check out.” “Yes”, I said. “Well, come on then…let’s get it over with!”, she said. It just gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling! I felt like she was really looking forward to checking me out. And, I finally got out…came home…put the groceries away…Alex helped…..put the rotisserie chicken on the island…with a note that said the salad is in the refrigerator…..undressed, got into the bed, with the computer, and here I am. Talking to you. Oh,one more thing…I lit my new candle…the one I bought today at W*l-M*rt. I was one candle top short. Smells good…really!




  1. Actually, Tonja, you should come visit me. I think some of your crazies live across the street.

    I was having a lovely day at home today, lovely except for the neighbor man’s very loud little granddaughters playing in the street. One time I heard him yell,”Kayla! Go put your shirt on!”. She yelled back at him, which was followed by his very loud, “B— sh–!”. I looked outside and did indeed see a girl, 5 or 6 years of age, riding bike in her knit pants, no shirt!!!!

  2. Tonja, I have to tell you…….you're a dysfunctional magnet! They see you walking in the door! 🙂

  3. Tonja, I was feeling really crabby tonight (though not so much as to think candles smelled like "poop") so your post made me laugh out loud and feel very much better!!

  4. How I look forward to these Tales from Dothania!! And you're right there in the middle of the action. (And I must admit—I might be right there with Miz Sniffum, 'cause so many of the scents give me a headache after a little while, but I certainly don't call the aromas THAT).

    You know, that Mama and the little boy—she HAD to go get that child, and she was very lucky that a good person saw to her "stuff" that day—you were the haven, and I've no doubt that she would have dashed on away WITHOUT the purse, even sans your offer, but she knew in that split second that she could trust you with her purse. I, too, seem to have that kind of aspect, I think—I LOOK after things and people, and folks know it, even strangers.

    People just FIND us.

    And a question—how did you work all day, do all that shopping and driving and people-connecting, and go home and set that warm, savory-scented chicken down and walk away to bed, without grabbing at least a little nibble?

    rachel, fellow lid-replacer

  5. Very entertaining post Tonja. I just love coming over and being part of your day. (at least you leave the house unlike me) I am living vicariously through you. Just gotta love people!

  6. Oh, Tonja, I can always count on really "laughing out loud" at your "special people" stories. It takes all kinds, and you seem to run into most of them at Wal-Mart. I think it's God's way of reaching them, through you and your kind deeds … and I'm sure their days are better for having "run into you." I sincerely admire your patience and compassion during these encounters, and hope that I might react as kindly as you if I ever run into a "special person" somewhere.

  7. I find your shopping experiences so funny. I must live in a very boring neighborhood, I never have things like that happen when I shop!

  8. I've had some experiences too with some nutty nutty people, but I just can't tell the tale like you do girlfriend!


  9. Here's the comment I tried to post on Saturday:

    Actually, Tonja, you should come visit me. I think some of your crazies live across the street.

    I was having a lovely day at home today, lovely except for the neighbor man’s very loud little granddaughters playing in the street. One time I heard him yell,”Kayla! Go put your shirt on!”. She yelled back at him, which was followed by his very loud, “B— sh–!”. I looked outside and did indeed see a girl, 5 or 6 years of age, riding bike in her knit pants, no shirt!!!!

  10. Once again, you've got me laughing out loud! 🙂 Love the stories of your encounters with people! Oddly though, I kind of "get" what the woman meant about a sickly smell. Maybe she meant (as I take it), one of those smells that is so sweet it gets nauseating after a while. I know how you feel about Walmart, too. We have just about stopped shopping there unless absolutely necessary, because we wind up waiting in line longer than it took us to do our shopping. We're excited about trying out Publix!

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