So, Sean and I started our Saturday morning by walking down to Jo’s Coffee shop on South Congress as we often do. We ordered our coffees and as I was feeling pretty hungry I ordered two Pappas, Egg and Cheese tacos to match Sean’s order. We said hello to our new friend Nichol who was once again sporting her red silk kimono and joined her at the large community table to eat our breakfast. After finishing my first taco, I decided I’d been overzealous in my ordering and wrapped up the remaining taco in a brown paper bag and shoved it down in my backpack to bring home to Al.
I read a little and did some writing warm-ups while Sean sketched various people from around the shop. Jo’s has a different vibe on Saturdays. The regulars are there, but there are more families and small children and impolite dogs who bark, bark, bark. At first the energy is inspirational but eventually we feel the itch to move on and today we have errands to run anyway. So, we packed up our stuff and continued up the hill.
I wanted to make Mexican Wedding Cakes and forgot the vanilla last time I was at the grocery store so we headed to the Farm to Market store which is too expensive to go to on a regular basis but I was willing to splurge to save the time of dragging Al’s big truck out of the garage to go to the HEB. I spent ten dollars on a bottle of organic vanilla and even the cashier double checked the outrageous price but I was being lazy and I paid for it. The cashier asked if I wanted a bag. I considered just throwing the bottle in my purse but worried it might leak so I said yes and she wrapped the bottle in small brown paper sack. I shoved the sack down in my purse not realizing that brown paper sacks would cause problems in my near future.
Sean needed to go to the bank so we walked further up the hill than usual. Beyond the bank there is a middle school and some barber shops but the shops become more spread out and less appealing so the bank was to be our last stop before heading back to the apartment down the hill. On our way to the bank, we approached an elderly man with a bushy gray beard in a wheelchair. He had a cardboard sign in his lap and the words written in Sharpie marker said something about needing any kind of help anyone could offer. I remembered my leftover taco and said hello to the man and his friend standing next to him. I told him I didn’t have any cash, which I didn’t, but that I had a taco in my purse and would he like to have it. He said he would, so I opened my purse and took out the brown paper sack and handed it to him. We exchanged God Bless You with Have a Nice Day and Sean and I crossed the street to the bank.
As we left the bank, I noticed the man and his friend were gone. I mentioned to Sean that this was the first time I had ever uttered the phrase, “I have a taco in my purse,” to anyone. We laughed.
At home, I tidied up the kitchen and started chopping pecans for my cookie dough. I followed the recipe until I got to the line that read, “Whip butter and sugar together and add vanilla.” I went to my purse to retrieve the vanilla and dug around past the sunglasses and Kleenex and various pens and pencils. There was no brown bag. A realization started to dawn and so I checked my backpack and there it was, wrapped in brown paper… the taco I thought I had given to the wheelchair bound man. “Oh no!” I shouted to Sean with wide eyes while slapping both palms to my cheeks. “I gave the vanilla to the homeless man!” “What is he going to do with ten dollars’ worth of pure organic vanilla?” Then, I mimed tipping back a bottle and taking a drink and planted my face in my palm while Sean laughed.