Story and The Green Cart

The coveted green cart. Story has dreams and wishes of this green cart. Sometimes, on our way to the grocery store I hear Story offer a quiet prayer to the Universe, “I hope we get the green cart.” And though I try to withhold any sense of promise, I say back to her, “I do too, baby.” Oddly enough, I find I mean it.
One time we were leaving the store, our shopping tasks complete, Story quietly satisfied in her own, very normal, brown cart, which is just one of so many other identical, boring brown carts, when Story and I both spotted the green cart. It was parked in a corral right next to our van. I have to confess, I didn’t hesitate; I even found my pace quickening in time to my heart. I rushed to the corral, looked sneakily around for any competing souls, and spotting none, I proudly dug the green cart out from its burial behind so many other carts. There should have been music, some anthem. Steps away from our destination, Story grinning reached her hands up into the air and I whisked her into the sky and landed her proudly into her verdant palanquin. I then let her sit there, satisfied in her ownership, as I slowly unloaded our purchases from our now childless cart.
Another time (I wasn’t there for this one and only heard about it later) Kara and Story had gone to the grocery store mid-morning. It was slower than usual and as they stepped through the automatic doors, Story froze in her tracks, unable to grasp what was taking place in her young brain. The green cart was just right there; it was unattended, childless, abandoned. Kara told me later that day that Story stood there in disbelieving anticipation full moments before exclaiming, “IT’S. THE. GREEN. CART!!!” for all the world to hear.
She had won.
This evening we had walked into the store, the three of us, to gather fixings for dinner and a few odds and ends to get us through the workweek. Not only was there not a green cart in sight…there weren’t ANY children’s carts in sight. I heard Kara tell Story that she was sorry, but today Story would just have to ride in a regular cart. Story was kind, understanding of our inabilities. She did not say a word, but simply stood there with defeated acceptance on her face.
I’m not sure what it was. Maybe a car in the parking lot moved in just the right way. Something at the far end of the parking lot caught my eye. Was it? Could it be? I didn’t want to make any promises; I was a long way away. It was all the way across the parking lot. Damn it, why did I have to wear these shoes?!?
I whispered sternly to Kara and Story, “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
I’m a runner.
Deep breaths in the summer heat.
I’m a Runner!

Later as we pushed Story through the grocery store we overheard another child offer wistfully to her father, “I had the green cart once.” I stood a little taller, a little more satisfied.
Another father and his child, their drab-brown cart being pushed heavily through the aisles, stopped to admire the green cart. Kara and I acknowledged the oddity of there just being this one green cart in the whole store. Kara and I told the discomfited father that the store across town was a veritable land of Canaan, with green carts as far as the eye can see. “That’s all they have there,” I explained promisingly. Then we all agreed that it just wasn’t the same. He pushed his child away whispering words of comfort, “maybe next time we come here you can have the green cart…”
My workdays are often filled with bitter hardships, and horror stories. I listen to tales of abuse, famine, theft, and disease. I spend all day talking to people, crying with them, hoping to offer enough inspiration for one person to make one right decision.
Just one.
Like all of us I suppose, I find myself bombarded with an unhealthy amount of information, dis-information, lies and disenchantments from our leaders and role models.
It’s so easy for me to be swept away in the yelling matches. So easy to become overwhelmed by the dis-ease of Life.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the questions of why Trump is so full of hatred and yet still supported, or why Hillary can get away with the most egregious lies, or arguments of gun control and second amendment rights, and how to control terrorism while being compassionate to those in need.
Sometimes it can help to go to the park and hear the laughter of children; to remember that no matter how important and civilized we might think ourselves to be if you’re the last one down the hill, you’re STILL a rotten egg.
Sometimes it really helps just to take a trip to the local grocery store and remember that at the end of the day the green cart is the most important thing.
The arguments still matter.
The discussions taking place are important.
But it helps every once in a while to take a deep breath and remember the green cart.
Sometimes, on our way to the grocery store I hear Story offer a quiet prayer to the Universe, “I hope we get the green cart.” And though I try to withhold any sense of promise, I say back to her, “I do too, baby. I do too.”
And I mean it.


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