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Smiling Eyes

stephanie maskI finally did it! I ventured out and went to the hardware store. I needed some more stripper for that ice chest my husband was redoing, and I decided to just go get it. I checked with our local store, Clark Hardware, and they explained how it would work.

Only 15 people in at a time. Everyone wears a mask. Plus, seniors only from 9 to 10, so I got there early and was about the 6th person in line. Mask, gloves, and my list. They had us all line up 6 feet apart before the store was opened.

Then there it was. That moment when no one could see, I was smiling at them. My mask was covering my smile. Well, they say you can see a smile in people’s eyes, so I started smiling big, hoping people could see it. A lady got behind me and looking about as nervous as I felt she asked is this the line? BINGO! A conversation started, and I spent the next 20 minutes while waiting for the store to open, chatting with a stranger about everything under the sun.

The best thing was like me, she sort of snuck out without her kids knowing she was going to the store. She was the first person besides my mother (who I do go see every morning) that I had a conversation with in person in 7 weeks.

While I was standing in line next to all the vegetable plants and annuals that the hardware store sells, in came two delivery trucks. Greenway Farms! My good friends, the Healeys from Cooksville, have a wholesale nursery, and Behnke’s would always buy many of the vegetable plants that we sold from them.

Unfortunately, I did not know the drivers, but it was all I could do not to go over and help unload the darn truck. Which is really funny since I have not unloaded a truck in 14 years since my husband and I closed our own wholesale nursery down.

social distancing

Needless to say, it turned out to be a beautiful morning. I made a new friend, got my list of much-needed items, and don’t tell my children, but I drove down to Behnke’s and had a social distancing gathering with some of the gang that worked for us when we were open. All wearing masks and no hugging.

The police officer that lives in the little brick house on the Behnke property said he was watching us. LOL! I did not know just how much I really needed that interaction with some of the folks I used to work with. I hope that you can see your friends somehow. Even if it is just with Face Time or that new Zoom thing, we all need to see our friends and loved ones.

Stephanie Fleming; Beyond Behnke’s

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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