It was Christmas Eve.
My husband had gone grocery shopping that afternoon with a list I had made. Unfortunately, he forgot to buy the main ingredients for two items I had planned to have for dinner that evening.
Normally, grocery shopping is my domain. But I had done nearly ALL of the Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, so he had volunteered to do this errand today.
He had gone to two stores already to get various items. I didn’t want him to have to go out into the fray again, so I tried to figure out alternatives.
One item we could easily do without. I had wanted to make that yummy spinach dip with the water chestnuts and Knorr vegetable soup mix. Yes. Nosh and nibble. It is kind of impossible to make without the soup mix. The other thing was a deli roasted chicken that was going to go into a made-from-scratch chicken pot-pie. You can’t really make a pot-pie without a chicken.
I looked in my freezer. No chicken.
I decided to run to the nearest grocery store to get one.
I got a parking spot (which is surprising since the small lot is usually packed). I got to the door and a young woman stopped me saying, “I’m sorry we’re closed. I can’t let you go in.” I looked at her blankly.
“What time did you close?” I asked.
“5,” she answered.
I looked at my blank left wrist where I usually have a watch. I thought I had left home well before 5 (and we only live a few minutes from the store).
I looked back at her and calmly asked, “Well, what time is it now?”
She said, “I don’t know but it is after that.”
I said, “I really need a chicken. Don’t they have some left in there?” (looking past her longingly into the store…)
Again, “Sorry. I can’t let you in.” Then she added helpfully, “Maybe try Pick-and-Save? I’m sure they’ll still be open.”
I wasn’t trying to be uncooperative. I had my tastebuds set on delicious home-made chicken pot-pie. My daughter had volunteered to make it for our dinner and I was really looking forward to it! Sigh.
I got back in my car. The clock read 5:02 pm. I groaned inwardly. Really? They kept me from buying a chicken because of one lousy minute?
I sighed (again) and decided to drive the 10 minutes or so to the other store.
Driving. Traffic. Stoplights.
I got to the parking lot and drove slowly by the main doors. There was a cluster of people there. I had a sinking feeling that I knew why they were there. I rolled down my window.
As I slowly drove away I said out the window to no one in particular , “I really need a chicken!”
I tried to think of where I could get a chicken (cooked or raw). I thought of our favorite Greek place. Their baked/broiled Athenian chicken is delicious, juicy and always quick to pick up. Or even better, I could get Greek food for dinner and then my daughter could make the pot-pie for Christmas dinner or the next day.
More driving. More traffic. More stop lights.
Nope. The Greek place was closed. No chicken. No carry out food.
Hey — The Boston Market back there was still open. They have cooked chickens! I pulled in hopefully. Yes. They were indeed open. I walked to the door. YES. There was as short line. The person behind the counter said to everyone, “We are out of chicken and meatloaf. No more chicken or meatloaf.” Sigh.
I turned around and went back to my car.
Hungry. Tired of traffic. Feeling frazzled.
But I was determined not to get angry.
Hey. He DID buy the ham for tomorrow. We could cut it open and carve some slices off the bottom. I also had him get swiss cheese and buns so I could make those tasty hot ham sandwiches with some leftover ham. We could have those tonight! It is fast and we have all the ingredients. We had enough carrots and fruit to round things out for a meal.
I sent a quick text. “I’m coming home. No chicken, but I have a plan.”
Sometimes you just have to go home and eat a ham sandwich, even when you really want to have chicken pot-pie.
Now I realize this whole story is a 1st world problem. I’m thankful for a refrigerator full of food, for a fully equipped kitchen to cook food in, a home to eat it in, a car to drive to the grocery and a range of very luxurious grocery stores within short driving distance of our home. All these things are blessings and I’m truly grateful for all of them.
Sometimes we have to remember to be flexible in our expectations and desires. Let it go. Anger leads to the dark side. (Hah! Couldn’t resist the Star Wars reference!) Chicken or ham. It’s all good.
For the recipes mentioned in this post, please visit my food blog: The Tromp Queen COOKS! (I’ll post them in the next few days.)