Tell Them Both I Said Hello

Posted On March 14, 2024

There’s a grocery store Cam goes to when he’s in a hurry. It’s NOT the one closest to his house. That one is full of memories. Full of roots.


I saw him see me. He turned and headed my way.

“Cam,” he said. “How’s you mother?”

“Well,” I said. “She passed away two years ago.” I saw you at her funeral, I wanted to say. I remember talking to you.

“Oh. Yes. That’s right. I’m sorry. Well then, how’s your father?”

“Dad’s wonderful. He plays pickleball five, sometimes six days a week. Sometimes twice a day. He’s eighty-seven but I don’t think he knows it. He’s great.”

“Well, that’s wonderful. Please tell them both I said hello.”

“I, I sure will. Thanks.”

The grocery store closest to my house is the one I got to least often. The trip takes too long. At any moment of the day there is someone in there that wants to chat. Wants a short visit. In the middle of the day, when I go in to buy something quick for lunch, someone like this is likely there. Usually friends of my parents. They’re in no hurry. The grocery store I go to when I’m in a hurry is actually a bit further away. It’s quicker.

Conversations like this, with this older gentleman, while a bit comical and maybe a bit sad, mean something. “I know you,” he was saying. “I know your people. You and me, we’re connected. We fished when you were a young boy. Your dad and I hunted turkeys together.” As a young man, I wanted no part of this. I didn’t want to be reminded of myself as a boy. I wanted anonymity. I wanted a blank slate and to make my own way as a man. So, I left my hometown for two decades. Today, the opposite is now true. It’s become important to me. It’s a 180 degree about face. I like it, though a bit comical and a bit sad at times, I like it. It’s roots.

There’s something about old connections, about roots. About generations of pasts that intertwine. I once dismissed this as unimportant. I felt that these were silly things cherished by simple, small-minded people. I was a young man then. I was bullet proof and I knew it all. I’ve had a 180 degree about face. They’re important now more than ever as I look around at who I’ll grow old with, how we’re connected, and how my connections may show up in my kid’s worlds in some unknowable way in the future.

And I see one of my friend’s adult children in the grocery story. I knew him when he was a boy. I tossed him balls, maybe, or cooked him pancakes in his pajamas at my house on a Saturday morning. And I go to him and I say, “Hey. Tell me. How’s your father. I miss him. Please tell him I said Hello.”

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.

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Categories: Libsyn2