Joseph’s Idea

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Joseph Anderson Donetti followed G.M. through the automatic door of the market. “These doors are backwards,” he complained.

G.M. grinned. “You say that every time we come to the market.”

“Well, they are!” Joseph insisted. “It’s the left door that opens for us to go in. It should be the right door. Cars always drive on the right side of the road. Why don’t we go in the right-side door?”

“We go in the left-hand door because that’s the door that opens up for us,” G.M. replied. She found a grocery cart and began to walk down the vegetable aisle.

“Well, it’s backwards!” Joseph muttered to himself, trailing behind her.

G.M. laughed. “Would you like me to make an appointment with the manager? You could discuss it with him.” she said over her shoulder.

Joseph did not answer G.M.’s silly question. Instead, he darted ahead of her, past the colorful displays of carrots, and lettuce, and peppers. “Look!” he exclaimed. “They have strawberries!”

G.M. pushed the cart to where Joseph stood. She looked at the big, red berries piled high in their little green plastic baskets. “These strawberries are from California,” she said. “I usually wait for strawberries until I can get ones that are at least grown here in the Rogue Valley, if not in our own garden. I like strawberries that are picked the very day I eat them.”

“Oh, please!” Joseph begged. “I love strawberries! And the ones in our garden are still little and green!”

G.M. looked at Joseph. Her eyes twinkled. “OK,” she gave in. “We’ll have strawberry shortcake for supper tonight.”

Joseph eagerly put four baskets of strawberries in the cart. Then he followed G.M. through the store as she picked out the other things she had come to buy. Thoughts of strawberry shortcake topped with fluffy mounds of whipped cream filled his head. He could almost taste it already!

“Oh, no!” G.M. exclaimed in annoyance as she pushed the cart to the checkout counter. “It’s pouring! I thought we’d get home before the rain started. I didn’t even bring an umbrella.”

Joseph looked out the big store windows. Sure enough. Rain streaked down. Big drops splashed as they hit the pavement in the parking lot. Puddles were already forming.

G.M. wrote a check to pay for the groceries. Joseph carefully picked up the big, brown bag with the strawberries inside. G.M. took the other bag. They went out the automatic door—the left one—and stood under the porch roof, gazing at the rain.

“I guess we’ll just have to run to the truck and hope we don’t get too wet,” G.M. decided.

“It won’t matter if the strawberries get wet, will it?” Joseph asked anxiously.

“Of course not!” G.M. answered. “They grew outdoors in a field. I imagine they have been rained on before!”

When G.M., and Joseph, and the groceries were safely inside the dry truck, G.M. started the motor and turned on the windshield wipers. Joseph watched other shoppers dash to their cars. Some of them got very wet as they transferred bags of groceries from their carts to their cars.

“Wait!” Joseph shouted as G.M. began to drive out of the parking lot. “Wait a minute! I have an idea!”

G.M. stopped the truck. She put a hand over her heart. “The next time you have an idea, have it quietly. Don’t scare me to death!” she exclaimed.

Joseph grinned. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But it’s a terrific idea! It looks like everybody forgot their umbrellas. We could go home, and I could get that huge blue and white umbrella that you have. And then I could come back, and I could hold the umbrella over people while they walk to their cars and load their groceries! You would like that—if somebody had held an umbrella for us!”

G.M. looked at Joseph. “Sometimes you amaze me!” she said. She watched the other shoppers scurry through the rain to their cars. “You’d have to wear your rain boots and your rain coat,” she said. “And a hat. I don’t want you to get soaked and catch a cold.”

“OK,” Joseph agreed. “I’m sure Mac would want to come too! She won’t want to miss out on the fun!” he exclaimed.

“I’m sure you’re right about that,” G.M. said dryly. “I’ll have to come back with you, though, and keep an eye on you. Maybe we could even find another big umbrella, and I could help too!” she added. “There’s no reason I should have to miss out on the fun either!”

Joseph wiggled comfortably on the truck’s old seat as G.M. began once again to drive out of the parking lot. Suddenly he had another thought! “You won’t be too tired then to fix strawberry shortcake, will you?” he asked.

G.M. braked to a stop once again. She stared at Joseph. “What do you think I am?” she asked. “Old?”

Joseph decided maybe that was another silly question that G.M. really didn’t expect him to answer. “Hurry up!” he exclaimed. “Let’s go home! I don’t want the rain to stop before we get back!”