Yesterday I only had a few items to grab in The Devil's Playground. A few, meaning half a cart rather than a whole cart full. I had my list, starting from the deli. I used to start at the back with The Pony, but times and my shopping habits have changed, since I can't send him ranging far and wide to fetch things. Now I have to make a big loop.
I was halfway done when a lady passed me by the open freezer containing the corn dogs (which I don't buy anymore, lacking The Pony to feed them to), and said, "Are you Hillbilly Mom?" I admitted to it right away. She didn't look familiar to me. But at least she had the name right, unlike that woman who insisted that my name was Jane, and told the Devil's Handmaiden that I was lying to her, pretending I wasn't.
But...people have called me Hillbilly Mom before, too, and then come to find out they say, "Yeah. How long have you been back from Alaska?" Um. Where I HAVE been, FORTY YEARS AGO! But try to convince somebody that when you are the name they are calling, and you've been where they inquired about. They don't want to hear that you're not THAT Hillbilly Mom. So I waited. To see who this lady really thought I was.
"I used to babysit you!"
"Oh, no! You look younger than I do!"
"When you lived on [REDACTED] Street! Your mom and dad would go out and leave you with me. Not all the time! Just every now and then."
"Oh. I'm sorry. I don't remember. I know they used to talk about living on [REDACTED] Street. My earliest memory is from my grandma and grandpa's house down by the river, next to their gas station. I was only about 2, and I fell on a cactus, and they had to pull out all the needles."
"Ooh. That's too bad! I knew your other grandma and grandpa. And all your uncles! They were crazy! They used to come over when we were kids, and we'd go down and play in the basement. The youngest one (Auntie Gambler's husband) used to jump out and scare me. He thought that was the funniest thing. And this one time, he hid in a big box. I knew he was in there. So I took a broom and started beating that box until he came out. They were really a lot of fun, that family."
We talked a bit more. She telling stories that I will relay to my favorite gambling aunt at our next lunch date, me nodding. Then I went on with my shopping. I was completing my loop, coming back up to the front, when I'll be ding dang donged if I didn't run into her again at the end of the soup aisle. Of course we had to talk some more. She said she forgot to tell me her name, and that she'd been at Mom's funeral, but she didn't come up to me because she didn't want to bother me, and she figured I would be overwhelmed with other stuff. Rightly so.
I hope Auntie Gambler remembers who she was.