Tom Thumb with luck

"I feel lucky!," as Mary Chapin-Carpenter would sing. It's raining, for one thing. Plus, this morning I took the Gecko Box to the post office and there was no line! I should probably go buy a lottery ticket.

Instead, I saw the LCD sign outside the Tom Thumb Store that read, BIG MEAT SALE. Whoa. I haven't shopped at the Tom Thumb in a dozen years, but I feel lucky.

In the mid-Nineties the Tom Thumb annoyed me by being the first grocery chain to have Reward Cards. Its skinny aisles were also a place I was likely to encounter my ex. The very helpful staff at the store pharmacy disappeared, and so did I. Amazingly, the store stayed in business without me.

Later, when my ex remarried, I stopped shopping for three ravenous teen sons and their friends at my old Albertsons. I didn't enjoy meeting the new wife there, or a city mayor I disliked. That store withered away without my business, and is now a vacant blight at a major corner.

DFW is a hotbed of grocery competition. I'm not sure how much the market analysts factor ex-spouse avoidance into their charts and graphs. As gas prices have increased, I mostly buy groceries at the store on my commute route. Even so, I can count nearly a dozen chains where I've purchased groceries in 2008, all within ten miles of my house.

I feel lucky today that it is the twenty-sixth birthday of my first son, Mr. Speech-Debate. Being his parent has been a joy and a wonder and enormously rewarding every day of the twenty-six years.

Over the years I've gotten used to reward cards, and have at least eight on my keychain. Got a Tom Thumb reward card today to get the full benefit of the BIG MEAT SALE. The store has been nicely updated, except its got too much of that dimmed indirect light Starbucks-style ambience for my bifocals.

Why the grocery store was named for a tiny guy who rode around on a mouse and kept getting eaten by animals and giants never made any sense to me, but neither did the names Hinky Dinky and Piggly Wiggly. Seems like Three Bags Full would be a more honest nursery tale allusion.

The preschoolers were learning the Hinky Dinky Double D Farm song this summer, but it's more likely the grocery store name was related to the World War I song, "Mademoiselle from Armentieres". Neither would inspire me to name a grocery store:

Oh it's beans, beans, beans
That make you feel so mean,
On the farm, on the farm,
Oh, it's beans, beans, beans
That make you feel so mean,
On the Hinky Dinky 'Double D' farm....Oh it's corn, corn, corn that makes you feel forlorn...

Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez-vous?
Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez-vous?
She could beg a franc, a drink, a meal
But it wasn't because of 'er sex appeal
Hinky, dinky, parlez-vous
You might forget the gas and shells, parlez-vous
You might forget the gas and shells, parlez-vous
You might forget the groans and yells
But you'll never forget the mademoiselles
Hinky, dinky, parlez-vous.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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