Retired For Reals: Act 2, Day I, Part 2

FYI, names have been changed to conceal the identity of those profiled.

So where were we? Oh yes, Cord (of the muscle shirt and charming personality). I’ll get to him, but first I want to tell you about Daisy.

A friend once told me that I’d never meet anyone who didn’t know at least one thing that I don’t. Ever since, I’ve been asking questions of those I meet, trying to discover what it is that they know that I don’t. It’s surprising the things you can learn from a stranger if you listen.

Every woman (and many men) know intuitively that rites of passage are to be celebrated with acts of self-indulgence. I’m no dummy. So after 100 rounds at the range, I took myself to my favorite nail salon.

A beautiful Asian woman named Daisy with a high pony tail and artfully applied eyeliner ran warm water in the footbath and asked me what color polish I’d like on my toenails. Given the magnitude of the occasion I chose ruby red with sparkles, a fitting, festive, and sassy color for my Red Letter Day.

If you’ve never had a pedicure, you won’t know that conversing is optional. You can just sit back and enjoy or chatter away. I usually sit back and enjoy. Yesterday though, I remembered my friend’s words and decided to get to know Daisy. I’m so glad I did.

Daisy has a thick accent though she understands and speaks English quite well. She’s been an Idahoan for about as long as I worked for the state. She lives in Middleton. She loves Idaho.

Since I didn’t want her to feel I was interrogating her, I asked small questions first, building up to the big ones. She has no children here, her parents are deceased, and several brothers still live in Saigon. She goes back to visit from time to time.

Her favorite memory growing up as a city girl in Saigon was visiting the flower market with her mother. She loved to walk through the flowers of all colors and fragrances, she said. Her story made me want to go and see, smell for myself. She also loved the beach – there was one not too far from the city. I could imagine her as a young girl, walking the shore and looking for sea shells, hand in hand with her mother. I understand something about leaving one’s homeland and the tenderness with which we hold those memories that will never again be tangible.

I’m so glad I asked her, not just about surface things, but about her treasured memories. Her stories are so much more interesting than any ratty People Magazine I could have thumbed through. As Daisy planed off the callouses on my heels, she simultaneously implanted her memories about people and places I hope to see for myself one day.

Once my toes and feet were sparkly and blissed out, after a little vascillation I finally settled on Albertson’s Market Street (Article and photo credit: Don Day, 2018, BoiseDev) for lunch. If you haven’t been there, the place takes grocery shopping to a whole new level.

In addition to almost 100,000 square feet of food retail space, about 10,000 kinds of cheese and meats, a bakery that rivals Pastry Perfection on Glenwood Springs, beautiful produce displays, and more, at the front of the store is a large, airy food court. I walked back and forth trying to decide what to eat before finally opting to sit and be waited on. That’s where I met Cord.

I don’t really know much about him except that he was very charming. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea by asking too many questions. He gave every impression of enjoying his job and customers immensely. He’s probably in his mid-twenties, tanned, and tatooed. I couldn’t see what was inked on his chest since it was only peeking playfully out from under a muscle shirt that was covered by a short sleeved cotton shirt that wasn’t quite a Hawaiian shirt, but came close. Cord is a good looking man (did I say that already?) who could very well be my grandson.

He asked me if I wanted to order a drink from the bar and I asked about his specials. I know it was noon on a week day, but it was also my one and only Red Letter Day. Cord said his personal favorite is a Sandy Bottom – vanilla vodka, passion fruit juice, and some sort of muddled syrup. I said yes, ok, and he said he didn’t know why they call it that since there is no residual matter in the glass. When it came it was reminiscent of shallow, cloudy water. It came in a highball glass with a perfectly square 2 1/2 ” ice cube. Nice. A Red Letter Day calls for something exotic so I passed on a hamburger and ordered sushi. Both were exceptional.

“I hope you come back another time,” Cord said, in a charming attempt to maximize his tip (I’m sixty four, folks. It wasn’t me). Lord, that boy could flirt. I allowed as how my husband and I would really enjoy that and lit out for Supercuts before I changed my mind. I did give him a very decent tip though.

Monday was indeed a Red Letter Day. I’ll tell you about Sadie tomorrow.

#thebigshift #TeriFromOutWest

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