Urban Granny

A Seasoned View of Urban Life

Archive for July, 2009


Shop Local and Feel Good

On my last trip to Amsterdam (I go quite often for business) I bought two of my grandchildren, Madeleine 5, and Benjamin 4, harmonicas. No real reason for this other than they appealed to me and I thought that they were colorful and the kids love to make music.

"The" Harmonica

"The" Harmonica

Several days ago I was getting ready to leave for Florida to  visit my 82-year-old mother when Madeleine brought me her pink wooden harmonica and told me it was broken. She said that I could fix anything and would I take it to Florida and try to fix it. I stuck the harmonica into my bag and knew that it would become a mission in Florida with my Mother to have it fixed.

My Mom would love this chore but I dreaded going to a cavernous Home Depot, big box type store, with short-handed staff.  My mother remembered that there was a small Ace Hardware close by her home in Delray Beach.  I was a bit embarrassed to go in and ask for something as small and insignificant as a screw. It’s a 30-cent item.

I asked the lady at the register about the smallest screw they carried and she proceeded to page Josh.

Josh turned out to be the highlight of my day. He was about 35 and just delightful. I told him the story about my granddaughter thinking I could fix anything. After suggesting I also buy Kazoos for them one day, he painstakingly tried several screws until he found the one that fit. He changed all four for me. Josh was kind and patient and refused to charge me. As I was leaving with Madeleine’s fixed harmonica he leaned against the counter and with wistful eyes told me a story.

He had an 87-year-old grandmother. Every week in her final months, sick with leukemia, he would take her for a drive and something to eat. At the time she was living with his aunt who watched over her mother’s diet very carefully. On this particular ride Josh coaxed her into telling him what she really wanted to eat. She had hemmed and hawed, until finally she told him a hot dog. Coincidently they had just passed a roadside diner advertising hot dogs and hamburgers so he turned around and they made their way to the diner.

He and his grandmother sat at the counter and each had a hot dog and root beer. He said he had not seen her so happy in years.

I saw such love in Josh’s eyes and it was clear to me why he helped out another grandmother make a grandchild happy.

Not only do I believe in shopping in small locally owned stores but I know that a poignant story about grandparents and grandchildren can touch you at any time.

Ace Hardware Picture 1

50 SE 6th Avenue

Delray Beach, FL 33483

Phone: 561-278-1144

Posted under Observations, Shop