At the H.E.B.
Oh for a thousand tongues to sing
My great redeemer’s praise,
The glory of my God and King,
The triumph of his grace., Wesley, Charles, “Oh for a Thousand tongues to Sing”
Pulling out of the parking lot at Berryhills after a post church meal, the spouse and I headed for the close by Westlake H.E.B. in order to avoid the usual crowds at our neighborhood Central Market.
Wade: (humming) You know that song they sang at church today, Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing ? The guy singing the song, is he saying that he wishes that he had a chorus of a thousand people to sing praises to God or is he saying that he wishes that he, personally, had a thousand tongues to sing ?
Rayda: He means a chorus, how could he have a thousand tongues himself ?That’s ridiculous. What would his mouth look like ?
Wade: I disagree, I read that hymn pretty closely this morning, I think that the guy is saying that he wished he had a thousand tongues himself. They don’t have to all go in his mouth, besides, I think it’s a metaphor, “I wish I had a thousand tongues” he may not mean it literally.
Rayda: I have never looked at it that way, no one has ever looked at it that way, he meant he wishes that he had a thousand people with him.
Wade:, see, here’s why you are wrong. It’s a praise to God song, right, he says, “Oh for a thousand tongues to sing” like he is saying to God that it is impossible without you. That’s not impossible. You pray to God for something like that and God thinks, “OK, go get a thousand people, that’s not miracle. You have got a couple hundred here at church with you already. Get 800 more, or join a bigger church. “ You see, God is not interested in helping someone with such a small issue, now asking for a thousand tongues for yourself personally, that takes a miracle, that’s the kind of thing that you ask God for.
Rayda: There is no way that is what that I means. I will ask Paul, do you think Presbyterians sing that song ?
Wade : ” Of course they do, everyone sings it, but why would Paul know more about it that me, just because he is ordained ? Besides, you said yourself that he is a Presbyterian. Charles Wesley was a Methodist.
Rayda: there is no way it can mean what you say, here’s the parking lot.
Wade: I thought that you said that there would be fewer people, look at this place.
Rayda: I did not say fewer people, I said that we would not have to walk as far in the hot sun. Look they even have a drive up service after you check out.
Wade: Great, valet, let’s do that.
Rayda: It’s not Valet, you have to park and go get your own car, but they will meet you at this spot with the groceries.
Wade: That’s it ? What’s the big deal about that, all it saves you is pushing a little cart to your car ? It probably takes longer to do the service.
Rayda: It’s for old ladies, wait, I have to go back, I forgot our shopping bags. (at this point Rayda opened the trunk and pulled out three environmentally sound cloth shopping bags, all clearly labeled “Whole Foods”).
Wade: You can’t take those into an H.E.B., they say “Whole Foods”. It is an insult to the store.
Rayda: I always use the Whole Foods bags, everyone does, they are cuter, no one in there is going to get mad.
Wade: That’s not the point, it’s a matter of respecting the establishment that you are visiting, if you don’t have the proper cloth bag, you have to use that stores paper ones.
Rayda: That defeats the whole purpose of carrying these bags around. Go see what produce you want (Rayda grabs small cart).
At this point I walked over to the fruit and began looking around. A bewildered elderly man was staring at the peaches and asking the produce guy, who was unboxing some fruit, what he could tell him about the difference in the two kinds of peaches he was looking at , from a flavor perspective. I interrupted. “Sir, I said, “those peaches there are California peaches. There is not a California peach that is worth a damn.” The old man visibly brightened, “That’s exactly the kind of information I’m looking for.” He said, casting his eye toward the store employee who said, “He is exactly right . “ My job now done, I moved toward the plums and began selecting some type of hybrid plum/apricot thing, or anyway, something that looked like a plum but was not quite a plum. I noted the code as 6501. I bagged the fruit and weighed it, typing in the code. “Unknown plum” came up on the data screen. Thinking that that could not be correct I tried again and again and got the same reading.
Rayda: What are you doing ?
Wade Can’t get the correct code to get a price on these plums, look, I am putting in the right code.
Rayda: Try another code , try that one (she said as she punched in an inappropriate plum code). There, that works
Wade: You have no idea what you did, we could be paying an excessive amount for plums.(at this point I began putting the little green twisty thing on the plastic bag).
Rayda: What are you doing ? don’t use those, I hate those things, I just have to remove them when I get home.
Wade: Sorry, if you shop with me you use them, I am not going to have fruit getting lose in the basket and have it rolling around for us to gather up when we get to the line. Why do you think they give you the green twisty things ?
Rayda: Just go get some bananas. I am going to buy some sole, I have a great recipe for it.
Wade: That’s great, I love sole.
At this point I must mention that the greatest foodstuff in the entire world is the banana. I purchased four large bananas for forty six cents. Everyone should eat a banana for at least one of their meals a day. When you can dine for under twelve cents a meal, you are really accomplishing something. Rayda does not eat bananas but she always buys some. But you have to be careful with them. Not too ripe, not too green, not too many, not too few, not too large, not too small. There are a lot of variables to consider in a banana purchase, all of which will have profound ramifications, more bananas are thrown out of households than any other foods in the United States. I smugly and carefully put the little green twisty around my banana bag and tightly twisted.
Wade: I need to get some of those frozen coconut bars, I’ll be right back.
Wade: (minutes later) Look, they have frozen treats in Spanish, fresca y crema. Outstanding. Hey, why the prepared foods ?
Rayda: Well I found out that if I bought the prepared fish I got the sweet potatoes and green beans for free so we don’t have to cook !
Wade: I thought you wanted to cook ?
Rayda: who wants to cook ? stand in line, I forgot coffee beans.
I hate to stand in line without the complete purchase. You feel like you are cutting in line, why don’t you just get in line when you get to the store and have your wife run around and pick up everything ? As is always the case, once I got in line, the checking for the people in front of me went amazingly fast, leaving me at the head of the line and unprepared.
Wade: I’m sure that my wife will be right here, she just forgot coffee. Look here she is
Checker: paper or plastic ?
Wade: Well, neither really, we have these environmentally safe cloth bags that we are using although they are not from H.E.B. I’m afraid, does that matter ?
Checker: Why would it matter ?