Homestead Settlers

Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day. – Big Bird

Bill and I have been in our AZ home now for a week and a couple of days. The first week after we arrive each year always feels kind of like a Disneyland vacation – lots of stimulation, tons of really good food, and a whole lot of fun. Really, it feels like a vacation more than real life.

But after New Year’s Day, Jen leaves to return to Colorado, we put our Season of Beef behind us, birthday celebrations slow down a bit, and it is time to get on with beginning our ordinary AZ life in earnest for the four months that we are here.

What does this mean in practical terms? It means going to the grocery store and buying items besides brownie mix, wine, and ingredients for guacamole. Things like eggs and milk. Maybe some low-fiber bread and a jar of peanut butter. Some chicken thighs to put in the freezer for use in dinner preparation.

Every year sometime around this time I write a blog about going to the grocery store to fill my pantry and refrigerator for the first time. I always complain about all of the other snow birds who arrived after New Year’s Day who are doing the same thing as I.

And it’s true that Monday, when, despite the fact that I firmly declared that I wouldn’t do it this year, I went to the grocery store along with everyone else. But given my new outlook on life and my commitment to making 2017 a year of joy and grace, I’m not going to complain. I mean it. I’m not going to complain.

But I admit that it is absolutely striking – shocking, really – when I look around my nearby Fry’s Supermarket (which I remind you every year is our Kroger store) and see that the majority of shoppers are snow birds. Well, if they’re not snow birds, they’re at least my age or older. Much older. When I’m shopping in Denver and I see that many elderly people, I look outside for the retirement community bus. But I don’t even bother any longer here because I know there is no bus. In the words of that great philosopher Big Bird, these are the people in my neighborhood.

But since I’m not getting cranky this year, I paid attention instead to the person who was probably my age helping a much older woman make her choices. “Mom, I tried these apricot preserves and I think you would really like them.” “That sounds real good,” her mom told her. I wonder if Court will ever help me pick out preserves.

I noticed the obviously-single old gent buying his groceries ahead of me in line – groceries that consisted of some frozen TV dinners, some sliced bread, and three or four containers of glazed donut holes. “I’m going to come to your house for breakfast tomorrow,” I told him. “Those donut holes look good.”

“Well, they sure are,” he assured me. “And you’re welcome to come to breakfast!”

I didn’t get annoyed at the woman in the electric scooter who nearly backed over me as I rushed to get something I had nearly forgotten. After all, she’s in an electric scooter, and I’m able to use my two good legs. Instead, I smiled at her and said, “Excuse me.” And she smiled back.


Bill and I enjoyed lunch in November with Lilly and Maggie.

Bill and I will soon fall into our regular routine which, frankly, once we’re settled, doesn’t look a lot different than our routine in Denver. No grandkids, of course, but lots of great nieces and great nephews who go a ways towards filling that void. In fact, I am going to see the movie Sing with my sister Bec and her two grands this very afternoon.

Bill and I already made our first visit to the gym on Monday, and then spent Tuesday walking gingerly because our backs were saying, “What did you do to me? What were you thinking?”

Little by little, our Mesa house will feel like home instead of vacation. And as the days get a bit warmer, being outside will remind us of why we come here in the winter anyway!

This post linked to the GRAND Social