Peppers, a grocery store in Cadboro Bay Village, was the first stop. Well, not really – the Pharmacy was the first stop. A red letter day for me. I had collected all unused opiates – the 30’s, the 10’s the 5’s, the fast acting, the slow acting, all of them into a white paper bag and delivered to the pharmacy. “A red letter day for me,” I said to the pharmacist, ”I couldn’t have a better gift. Five days, opiate free. I need them. And now I don’t. A big day for me.”
But back to Peppers. The employees were having a contest: the worst Christmas outfit. One of the cashiers at the front had on one of those embroidered Xmas sweaters that is also lit like a tree – miniature lights flashing on and off. There were other Christmas sweaters, some of which I thought were quite beautiful so it is a good thing I wasn’t the judge. Rebecca thought the most disturbing costume was an elf hat, the peaked point of which would flip one way and then another. “Disturbing,” she said. I was taken with the hat shaped like a turkey, but with a smaller Christmas hat decorating the ends of the drumsticks. There was a reindeer head. The costume I wanted to imitate was one where an employee had taken a Christmas garland and artfully draped it over her shoulders as though it were a shawl. That might be the contest to end all contests.
When I got tired of watching the employees in costume, I turned to looking at the shoppers, since Peppers is in an exclusive housing area. Rebecca remarked to a woman about her embroidered boiled wool vest, “Exquisite vest”. The woman looked a little embarrassed but her daughter spoke up, “My mother made it.”
“I would like one, but I know the number of hours it would take to make one would make it cost prohibitive to me. What you are wearing is an art piece.” The woman’s daughter agreed, and the woman just seemed to shy over the whole thing to say much.
I had to switch back and forth to the left and right of one woman after I spotted a piece of cut rock on her finger that stretched over two other fingers. Beautifully set and a magnificent shape. I hardly got to see any of the groceries on the shelves, I was so busy between employee costuming and customer outerwear.
The perfect bulk barn was next door, bulk everything, especially candy – the penny sweets had already been bagged and priced, so there were no twist ties or bulk bin numbers to fumble with. We had already tried to find Christmas candy corn ( red white and green as opposed to the Halloween colours). The employee at Save-On foods says they have been soldout for over a week. As well, at the bulk burn there were little wrapped chocolates, the fin foil in colors that looked like lady bugs with black legs hanging out and butterflies with gossamer wings, and silver and gold wrapped money.
I told Rebecca that the boys would get all of this good food anyway, so to wrap it up and have it under the tree is like getting a gift and grocery package two for one. The day was warm. “I haven’t lived here long enough to get over the surprise of green lawns and a mild temperature yet. I wonder if that day will come,” said Rebecca. I man was jogging down the street in a muscle shirt and shorts. A beautiful green hedge had been trimmed up and over a charming wooden arch. I stepped over a small garden at the side of a street. Pansies were blooming close to the ground. I hope Santa Claus can find this lovely spot tomorrow – he may pass over it for what else more does Victoria need.