Meeting warmth

One of the things that make me happy in my garden is a little clump of chives that I love to add to soups or to scatter them on boiled potatoes. They are best in late spring or early summer before hot days dry their juiciness out. I usually cut them a lot at that time prior to their flowering and keep them in our freezer for later use.

I’ve learnt to use more herbs and spices lately and a week ago I remembered a spice mixture which I used to buy years ago. I decided to buy and taste it again so I made a mental note and when we were shopping last weekend in a supermarket I headed for the section where spices were placed. So many small bags in those long shelves… surely you can imagine.

When I came to those shelves, a man of about 35 was standing in front of them, obviously looking for a spice he could not find. I stopped near to him and started to browse the shelves too. Our eyes and heads were moving from left to right and back, from the upper shelf to the lower one and suddenly the man turned around and asked me “What are YOU looking for? I cannot find ginger.”

While I was answering that I was trying to find a “Chicken Polo” mixture, I was scanning the shelf in front of me. At that moment I saw a packet with big GINGER letters on it. “Oh, look, the ginger is here,” I told him and expected him to reach for the packet and leave. Instead he said: “Wonderful! Now I will help you to find yours! What did you say you were looking for?” And he started to go through the shelves again.

I was taken aback for a while and then had to smile broadly. Was he serious? Well, it seemed so. So I told him again that it was the Chicken Polo mixture I was longing for and we started to search for it together. Then I spotted another favourite mixture of mine “Chicken of seven herbs” and I decided quickly to take that. The Polo mixture wasn’t obviously there, perhaps it wasn’t produced any more and I didn’t want to waste the man’s time. Saying “I’m giving up that mixture, here is another one I like,” I grabbed the packet and we said goodbye to one another.

A complete stranger, no more than five or seven minutes of my life, and it was such a strong and emotional experience. So warm and pleasantly human. Thank you, dear stranger, whoever and wherever you are.