Lum: Hilary and Su’s excellent adventure
Last Sunday, my friend Hilary and I undertook a major expedition and visited Clark’s Market.
There’s nothing like being housebound for a couple of months to prove that everything really is relative. Normally, a little junket to either market, both only three or four blocks away, could hardly qualify as an adventure, much less an excellent one, but this was no normal trip to the store.
I was certifiable when I hadn’t been off our Alaskan homestead for seven months. Burt’s solution was a camping trip, but I digress.
Since my back went out on me in mid-May, I haven’t left the house except for medical appointments and, on those occasions, was pushed in a wheelchair given to me by my daughter Hillery — who tends to think in terms of worst-case scenarios — before my trans trach surgery.
So the wheelchair came in handy after all, but my house is way too little to accommodate it and there was barely enough room to get around with my rickety walker. I would have upgraded the walker but who knows, I’ll soon be better (best-case scenario) and sure enough I’m now using my Hurrycane as advertised on TV.
This is not to suggest that I can go more than 20 or 30 steps with the cane, and thus it was that for the Clark’s Market adventure the wheelchair was enlisted.
For me, the adventure was getting out on the town, noting all the new boulder art and what looks like a now permanent “traffic calmer” at the post office turnoff. It sported whirlygigs and was dismantled for the winter, now resurrected and planted with what I hope is a rare form of exotic weed.
For Hilary, the adventure was getting me and the wheelchair in and out of the car and then getting me, my oxygen tank and the shopping cart into the store. We were both ready for a lie-down by the time we got through the door.
Hilary is a good driver; from my viewpoint all I could see were the close calls on either side but there were no collisions.
The remodeled store was lovely (now they just need to advertise), and I was thrilled to pick a prime rib roast that called to me from the meat counter. One of the things I like about cooking and shopping is being inspired by items that I’d never think of writing on a list. Who would know baby artichokes would be in stock? This is just an example — unfortunately there are never baby artichokes.
Hilary is a fine shopper, but it’s not the same as being there. And being responsible for shopping for someone else is no joy either.
We ran into a few people who probably interpreted the wheelchair as one foot in the grave, so I should take a few “Temporarily Out of Order” signs. It didn’t help that I had a bad case of laryngitis, could barely croak and had to point at everything like a 2-year-old as well as having a serious case of bed hair.
One thing I could have put to good use from my low vantage point was a periscope. My father used to make us periscopes out of cardboard tubing and pieces of mirror. It was one of my favorite spy tools, one I could have used on Sunday to peer into various bins so Hilary didn’t have to add translations to her job description.
The new produce department is enticing and the entire store is very Whole Foodsey. At my new speed (turtle) it will be months before I get the full lay of the land. No, I’ll soon be able to use the shopping cart as a walker and Hilary can run free again.
Su Lum is a longtime local whose column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Next: Farmers’ Market by wheelchair. Reach her at email@example.com.
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