Something has happened between the pickles and the snap peas at my neighborhood grocery store.
On a recent Friday night, I ran into the Giant Eagle Market District in Green to do a little shopping. Instead, I walked smack into a party.
Men and women were gathered around tall pub tables, sipping wine. It’s difficult to guess how many people were there because they were spread out — at the sushi bar, dining on stir fry, sitting on the outdoor patio and enjoying the live music in the store’s balcony. This is the same place that I buy bologna, frozen waffles and toilet bowl cleaner. The same place that’s an area hot spot every Friday night.
From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., patrons who are at least 21 years old can pay six bucks and receive a half-dozen wine and food samples. As an added bonus, shoppers receive $10 in grocery coupons.
My once typical store has expanded, offering things like movies and popcorn for kids, wine and beer dates and cooking demonstrations that sometimes include popular chefs. And, I’m not making this up — a concierge desk.
It’s all good — provided you aren’t the person guiding a grocery cart through and around lines of folks eager to get their take-home wine glasses refilled. It’s not that the partyers get upset when you break the line because they are generally in a good mood — it just feels odd.
“This is just something else, isn’t it?” asked one man, softly patting my arm as he stepped out of line to let me pass.
The neighborhood store turned gourmet emporium will compete with the Acme Fresh Market, which is expected to open before the leaves turn. The newest store, which is taking on a handsome mini-mall appearance, is less than a mile from Giant Eagle.
During my recent visit, a young woman stood in the middle of an aisle, resting her elbows on the handle of a grocery cart.
“I’m just going to stand here and rest, Mom,” she said, grinning.
“Honey,” Mom joked, “that’s called sobering up.”
Do you have a car for the needy?
I wrote last week about the Silent Angels who operate under a veil of anonymity. Readers who have good employment histories but have fallen on hard times were asked to send in requests for things that could make their lives better.
Many of the letters and emails that I have received and forwarded to the selfless group of angels are from folks who need cars to get to and from medical appointments or work. So the angels, who have a mechanic who is giving of his time if the angels purchase parts, need vehicles that run but may need minor repairs.
Perhaps grandpa has a car, truck or van that he doesn’t need any longer. Or — it would be a wonderful gesture if a local car dealership would donate trade-ins to better the lives of folks living in our area.
If you have a vehicle, even if it has high mileage, that you wish to donate, email me, with “Silent Angel” in the subject line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send a letter to SilentAngel, c/o Kim Hone-McMahan, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44308.
I will forward your message to our team of cherubs.
And, in advance, bless you.
Fundraiser at church
Immaculate Conception’s Waldeisen Hall, 2128 16th St. SW, in Kenmore will be the site of a benefit dinner and auction from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday to raise money to help with John Hughes’ medical bills.
Hughes, who is known as a man who routinely helps others, has non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The fundraiser will include a live and silent auction, 50/50 raffle, drinks, dinner with pizza provided by Talamo’s, Gionino’s, Decheco’s and Hungry Howie’s, a bake sale, and more with music by DJ E. Swig.
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For tickets or questions, contact Nicole at 330-472-7880.