Monday, April 19, 2010
Yesterday morning, after a long absence, my wife and I attended Sunday morning services at Wal-Mart. As always, the lighting was superb. And the parishioners, in from the streets and the quandary of their daily lives, were hushed, reverent. The merchandise, too, had a special glow, as if each item were an icon lit from within.
After looking at the bookshelves, we bought mayonnaise, and then two six-packs of begonias to plant by our front walk. On the way home, we listened to Merle Haggard sing his beautiful, heartbreaking song, “Hungry Eyes.” We both sang along, quietly, communicating in that way wives and husbands do when they’ve had the good fortune of long happiness — a happiness which, in our case, began over thirty-five years and four children ago before we were nineteen.
When you know how to do something, and you love doing it, and you know how to do it well, the best thing you can possibly do is keep doing it — in work, and in love. The money will come, or it won’t, or both. The shovel we use for ours is committed to rust, like the old farm equipment my father used and left behind. Its condition proves one thing: how easy it is to be rich and poor at the same time.
In the Forum: a ball of grocery string.