people take exciting vacations, cruising to exotic isles. Me, I
travel to the grocery store and cruise up and down aisles.
Not complaining - pushing a grocery cart down one aisle and up another
can be quite adventurous, especially with a talking toddler in tow.
You've heard of the Terrible Twos. Well, my daughter went through
a phase called the Talkative Twos, and that could be terrible, too.
Daughter Jan Kay at that age was the littlest observer when going
grocery shopping with me, constantly commenting on people she watched
from her seat in the grocery cart. I walked - and she talked - the
Brunson Food Market in Baytown
was her favorite, owned and operated by her grandmother's next-door
neighbors John and Lorraine Brunson. She knew the Brunsons but had
never met John's brother Howard E. Brunson, the movie theater mogul
of eastern Harris
County. I had never noticed it before, but the brothers Brunson
did resemble one another.
Jan Kay, the observer, brought this to my attention the day she
spotted Howard in the grocery store and mistook him for John. "There's
Mr. Brunson!" she exclaimed as she watched him select fruit and
veggies in the produce section.
Then she did a double take, spotting John Brunson at the same time
in his familiar role behind the meat counter.
It was then that she informed Howard E. Brunson who he really was.
"You're another Mr. Brunson."
Well. Glad we got that settled.
A similar incident happened at the Big Chief grocery store where
she saw a man wearing a straw hat that looked like the one worn
by her great-uncle, George Casey. As we passed the man in the hat,
Jan Kay stared and then shook her head. She informed him: "You're
somebody else's Uncle George."
I had to explain to the startled customer what was going on. He
reminded Jan Kay of her grandmother's brother. "Uh ... OK," he said,
turning away from us, as quickly as possible.
What he was
afraid of, I don't know. We weren't going to hurt him.
At the same store, Jabbering Jan became bilingual in front of the
butcher. I had taught her a few words in French, and one of them
was "thanks." As the butcher handed me a package of meat, Jan Kay
"How come she's speaking French?" he wanted to know. Before I could
answer, he came to his own conclusion. "You were a war bride from
France, weren't you?"
In my best
upper Texas coast accent (known as the Black Duck Bay drawl), I
denied French origins. But I did like Cajun food and music, if that
Up the road from Big Chief was the Lewis & Coker grocery store where
Chatty Cathy almost caused a serious confrontation. I remember it
well. We were at the back of the store, where I was searching for
ground beef. Meanwhile, the grocery cart commentator was staring
at this rather large man standing nearby.
Oh, no, please, not again. Not another pointed remark.
Uh-oh ... Here it comes.
look! That man is fat!"
The fat man
was not amused. "Your daddy is fat, too," he snapped back, red in
the face, mad as all get-out. As he waddled away, I wanted to go
after him. I wanted to grab him by the shoulder and demand, "What's
that you say? My husband may be a little overweight but he's not
nearly as fat as you are!"
However, I backed down from a showdown. After all, a little girl
with a fat mouth started it all. She was in my grocery cart and
we were the closest of kin. I was the responsible party.
I just wish Jan Kay had said "fat man" louder and in French.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
2 , 2017 column