Bundle of Sticks
Earlier this month my girlfriend and I decided to have a mini barbecue on my balcony. I had gotten her a small grill for Christmas, but we hadn’t used it yet because it had been a bit too chilly. When the day finally came, I was the one with the free time that afternoon to buy the food, so I found myself in the supermarket shopping for grillable victuals.
I was pleased to find that the supermarket had plenty of ready-to-grill items. There were various marinated meats, and some already on a stick or in full-on kabob form with onions and peppers and everything (yes, I’m lazy when it comes to preparing food).
Realizing that not all the food came pre-kabobbled, I started looking around for little skewers. There were none to be found anywhere. Then I noticed that the girls behind the meat counter had little wooden skewers. I asked them where I could buy them. They appeared kind of flustered, looked all around, then replied, “you can’t buy them.”
“You don’t sell those?” I asked, wanting to make sure.
“Here,” one of the girls said, reaching into a bag of the little wooden sticks behind the counter, “just take these.”
“You just want to give them to me?” I asked. “Shouldn’t I pay for them?”
“Nah, just take ’em,” she said, starting to look around for a rubber band for the skewers.
“OK…” I replied, not sure what else to do. The girls were scrambling for a rubber band or something to hold the little bundle together. Then the second girl had an epiphany. In one swoop, she took an elastic ponytail holder out of her hair and slipped it onto the bundle of sticks. Smiling, she proffered the newly bound bundle of sticks to me.
I took it, smiling back and thanking them.
When I got home I discovered that I had already bought a bag of skewers back when I first bought the grill.
The bundle of sticks held together with a ponytail holder remained in my pocket for a few days. I would forget about it until I put my jacket on and shoved my hands in its pockets. I wasn’t about to use them, but somehow just throwing them away didn’t seem right.
It’s little incidents like this that stick in my memory.