Tag Archives: France

Grocery Girl

by Colleen

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This past summer I was lucky enough to land a job at the People’s Food Co-op in nearby La Crosse, WI, due to the the fact that I am what they call there a “Co-op Baby”.  Sweet Ridge Farm has sold produce on and off to this organic food store for years, and apparently the management has watched me and my siblings grow from toddlers to teens, wending our way through aisles of dried fruit and organic cereals, eating their legendary malted milk balls straight from the bag, and taking more than our fair share of the many free samples of chips and dips they offer in the deli section.  If there is free food anywhere within 30 miles, the Slattery children will find it.

In any case, they noticed my last name on my application, and I was in.  I spent this past summer working part time as a grocery girl, stocking the shelves with an assortment of odd goods, such as seaweed snacks and hemp milk, and chatting with the only other girl in the department, Natalya, from Russia.  When I came back home for break, they immediately offered my job back to me.  Unfortunately, my days of gossip with Natalya are gone, as she has now returned to Russia, and I have now taken the role of Only Girl in the Grocery and Produce Department.  It’s not so bad, really.  Growing up with 5 brothers has made me quite comfortable with guys, and in most cases I actually prefer it.  So now I mostly spend my days talking about Russian literature to my boss, Ed, and directing people to the chia seeds (aisle 2, on the top right).

But what really lights up my day is a visit from the sisters.  Clare and Mary decided to pop in the other day and document my job.  Mary was particularly interested in our wine selection…

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Knowing absolutely nothing about our wine, I immediately suggested a French one.  You can’t go wrong with French wine, non?

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Needless to say, Mary did not take my suggestion   Some people just have no taste (or lack an obsession with French things).  But Mary and I do share some things in common.  While she dreams of bikinis, sunshine, and flowers, I dream of the green fields of France and baguettes and berets.  So, don’t be disturbed if you wander into the People’s Food Co-op to buy some dried aduki beans and hear the shelf stocker muttering to herself  in French-it’s just a harmless, dreaming grocery girl.

Writer’s Block Conquered and Wishful Thinking

Before a few days ago, I had written startlingly little poetry this summer. The heat must have made me slow to put pen to paper, but I finally came up with something that I didn’t detest the look of one the page. It’s not that I haven’t had thoughts or ideas to write on, it’s just that I’d yet to lug out my poetry book from the recesses of my bedside table. Dog days of summer indeed.

But, I’m over that month of writer’s block. And here is the result:

Dreaming Traveler

Postcards and maps on the wall-

Places that she longs to go.

She sleeps beneath ancient Rome,

surrounded by the streets of Paris, inked in pale blues and pink.

Barcelona, Firenze, Greece, Ukraine,

places to go crowd her brain.

The world is so big, she so small

Maps gaze upon her sleeping face, beckoning from her wall.

“Come see the world.”

It’s true; maps do line my walls. I’ve acquired them from friends, family, and even ripped them out of textbbooks in the case of the map of ancient Rome.

First off, there is one of my beloved maps of Paris, the place that I want most to go.  Although, I’ve recently given up on my dream of living there.  I just finished a book called, “The Sweet Life in Paris” by David Lebovitz in which Parisiens were portrayed as a bit….self-involved.  I would much rather live in the French countryside.

This postcard was sent to me by my friend, Jubilee, as she was traveling Europe in May, and is one of my favorites.

But, with a name as Irish as Colleen Slattery, I cannot and will not ever abandon my Irish roots.  After France, Ireland is my top choice for traveling abroad.

Although France and Ireland are my dream places to go, Italy is the one country in Europe that I have the most chance to go.  The University of Dallas (the college I will be attending this fall) includes a semester abroad on their campus 10 miles outside of Rome during the sophomore year.  So, perhaps one of my traveling dreams will come true.

I will travel the world some day.  And you can bet that I’ll take all of you along with me, through verse and photography (even if Clare has all the talent when it comes to pictures!)