Do strangers sometimes strike up random conversations with you in public?
Yesterday, standing outside Trader Joe’s, contemplating their plant display, I wondered if I should bring another one home. I spied a pretty little olive tree. My green thumbed son got one at his Traders and it’s now about fifteen feet tall, but that’s the difference between a drought climate and the Pacific Northwest, I guess.
As I pondered this decision, I noticed an elderly lady next to me seemingly in similar deliberations. She was beautifully attired like my mom would have been to go out for the day in a gorgeous dress with heels, accessorized with a sparkly brooch. Her hair was carefully coiffed.
Such a gorgeous human.
I picked up one olive tree and put it back, not sure if I wanted to potentially kill another living being. It’s difficult to grow a lot of things here with barely any rain and restricted watering. Even if it’s not restricted, the cost to effectively water is prohibiitve.
I pointed to the olive trees and said to her, “Are you thinking of getting one, too?”
She replied, “I would, but I can’t see how big it will get.” She had a bit of an accent.
I read the little informational sticker on the pot and told her, “Ten to fifteen feet unless it’s pruned.”
Then I shared with her my son’s successful experience with the olive tree in his garden and how it already created a few actual olives.
After that, she proceeded to tell me one wonderful story after another about growing up on an olive farm just outside of Rome.
Every fall, “just about this time”, she said, they’d pick tons of olives for eating and pressed olive oil and sold it all.
The olive trees outside of Trader Joe’s brought memories flooding back from her youth and you could tell she was wistfully remembering what were obviously happy times with her family.
I told her it was no wonder she had beautiful skin from all the olive oil and she smiled, reached out a hand to touch my arm, and thanked me for taking the time to talk to her.
Actually, it was MY pleasure.
I could have listened to her talk for hours. The stories about her childhood during and after WW 2 were fascinating. I wonder how and why she came to live in California.
(No, I didn’t get the tree, but it’s still under consideration.)