I am writing from Wilson, North Carolina, but before I relocated I lived in Lowell, Massachusetts, and always shopped at Hannaford's, Shop and Save Supermarket on Drum Hill Road, in Chelmsford, because they have a wide selection of items, it is very clean and well organized but mostly because the staff is very friendly, polite and helpful.
I however, never expected to be counting a supermarket or two gentlemen I have never met among my blessings at Thanksgiving but that is exactly what happened this year.
While the south is famous for it's hospitality and we love our new home, you can't be in two places at the same time and this year we were unable to be in Massachusetts for the holiday which was upsetting because it also happened to be my mother's 75th birthday.
Mother is fiercely independent and still lives alone but I was concerned that shopping, carrying the groceries up to the second floor and all the preparations would be too strenuous, so I suggested as part of her birthday gift that we have it catered. Mother loved the idea, so I called Hannaford's and made the arrangement only to discover that they don't usually accept payment over the phone. When I explained my dilemma, I was politely put on hold and the assistant manager, Mr. Scott Mac Normand, came on the line and made the necessary arrangements.
Once that was taken care of, I wanted to also send Flowers and was switched to the Produce Department and spoke with a Mr. Gerry Crouteau, who personally picked out a lovely floral arrangement for my mother's birthday.
I was elated that I was able to arrange everything all in one store, with a simple phone call, but how to get it to mother, remained a problem, for delivery is not part of their service, but Mr. Crouteau very kindly volunteered to bring my mother the complete Thanksgivig Dinner and Floral arrangement on his way home from work the evening before Thanksgiving.
The dinner included everything for Thanksgiving right down to the Pumpkin Pie all for only $49.99! All mother had to do was heat it and eat it. Both Mr. Mac Normand and Mr. Crouteau insisted it was no big deal, "just doing their job," is what they told me, but their efforts to satisfy a customer meant my mother had something pleasant to look forward to the whole month before Thanksgiving.
It allowed mother to retain her dignity and she proudly told everyone who inquired that they needn't worry about her for the holiday because dinner was being catered by Hannaford's Shop & Save and that nice young man from the supermarket was going to bring it to her.
We sent her a new table cloth and napkins and I can't tell you how happy she sounded days before the holiday, planning her dinner, and setting her table. She raved and raved about the lovely floral arrangement Mr. Crouteau picked out for her and how good the food was, but says her turkey stuffing is better and the next time she will "doctor" it up a little!
My sisters and I felt sad that we could not all be there to help Mom celebrate her 75th birthday, which fell on Thanksgiving, but thanks to the kindness of two gentlemen we have never met, my mother enjoyed a very happy holiday.
It was such a hit, that we are doing it again for Christmas but are trying to find some one to pick it up so as not to take advantage of the staff's kindness and generosity.
I will always remember this Thanksgiving, not because we couldn't be all together but because the act of kindness by two gentlemen who insisted it was no big thing, made it possible for an elderly woman, to host her own dinner, in her own home. To my mother, It was a very big thing.
That is why at Thanksgiving I counted a supermarket and two gentlemen I have never met, among my many blessings. My sisters and I wish Mr. Mac Normand, Mr. Crouteau, and all the folks at Hannafords who helped make my mother's holiday so nice, a happy prosperous, and healthy year ahead!
The daughters of Florence E. Mac Innis, of Lowell, Massachusetts
Barbara J. Mac Innis of Wilson, North Carolina
Carol A. Alba of Las Cruces New Mexico
Susan L. Boisvert of Merrimack, New Hampshire