Friday, September 18, 2009


Hi Ed. Do you think, maybe, we could soon, you and I, go shopping at Woodman’s?

It has come to this. Woodman’s is Madison’s premier discount grocery store. A place that, to me, is everything that makes for a grocery shopping nightmare. Aisles of bulging containers of godawful stuff that some would call food.

Except, there are two points to remember: 1. It’s cheap (Ed appeal) and, 2. if you look carefully, you'll find something fresh and honest. Maybe not fresh. But honest. I have to believe that Kashi crackers and organic grape juice are honest.

Life has been so brutal (meaning – busy) that we have run low on the basics. It's time for that quarterly Woodman's trip.

But walking up and down the aisles (and we walk up and down all of them), I have to wonder – cheap, yes, maybe, but at what price to the American eating habits?


We stand in line at the check out. Ed tells me – I have never in my life checked out with TWO carts full of food here.

Except that we haven’t bought anything, I tell him. A bunch of bananas and a pint of blueberries – that’s the extent of the produce.

Indeed. What we have are two carts full of everything but dinner.

The experience is so (to me) depressing that I insist on a pause for air at the nearby La Baguette. There, we chat with the owners, we laugh...


...we meet the owner’s parents. We walk away with only one baguette ($2.50), but my sense of well being has surged.

In the late late afternoon, we take Ed’s ancient (is 30 years old ancient?) Honda to his farmette. He wants to feed his cats, I want to take a walk.

Earlier, I was creating space on my laptop (the way to do this is to get rid of hundreds of irrelevant photos) and I came across pictures from March and April in Madison. It is a sadly gray time of the year here.

Today is its exact opposite.


I walk over to the fields where the Hmong farmers have so earnestly planted market vegetables and flowers. They are used to seeing me with my camera. We chat in the way that people do when neither understands the other’s language.


I continue up the road, past fields of market flowers…


And further still. The sun is low, the colors are sublime. My shoulders are bare – it is that warm.


I call Ed. Pick me up on the Rustic Road. I’m ready to head home.