Friday, June 6, 2014

Tippy and the Green Grocer’s Truck

In those long ago days just after World War II when I was growing up in rural Vermont, the local folks did not drive to the supermarket whenever they needed something to eat or cook. The Great Depression was still present in everyone’s mind and the suffering and lack that all endured was not forgotten. Driving to town was a treat. So everyone welcomed the green grocer with his weekly visits to rural homes and farms. We all depended upon what fruits and vegetables he found to buy on his visits to Albany’s warehouses.

The green grocer was a nice fellow, always happy to help farmers and their wives climb into the back of his truck to view his weekly selections and buy whatever they needed and their budget afforded. What he didn't expect was our cat Tippy, and her way of inspecting anything new. That’s just what the green grocer’s truck was to her as she was generally out mousing in nearby fields when his truck rambled up our driveway each week.

From where she was sitting sleepily on the old well outside our front door, Tippy saw a little field mouse scamper across the floor of the green grocer’s truck. And that woke Miss Tippy out of her cat dreams. She ran to the truck and jumped up into its rear section where all the week's fruits and vegetables were arranged in careful rows in bins attached to the truck’s side. No way was that little field mouse going to escape our Tippy's grasp.

She chased it around the bins and into a far corner and then she heard the truck’s engine start up as the green grocer backed out of our driveway. There was no time to jump off the back of the truck! Tippy was going for a ride.

She hid in a far corner as the Draffins and then the Rudds boarded the truck and made their selections. Then the green grocer pulled into the Hulett's back yard and Aunt Nellie Hulett came out to greet the green grocer. She had her wicker shopping basket over her arm. Aunt Nellie was prepared to buy broccoli and lemons and as she held a lemon up for a closer look, she spotted Tippy hiding beneath a nearby bin. “Isn’t that Don Norris’ Tippy?” she asked the green grocer.

He smiled as Aunt Nellie bought a bag filled with broccoli and lemons after reaching out for Tippy, whom she scooped up and placed in her wicker shopping basket. Aunt Nellie smiled and Tippy smiled wider. After a call to my father, Don Norris, Tippy was on her way back home to our house, settled in the wicker shopping basket that would be her bed for the remainder of her long life as our cat. Funny, but from that time on, whenever the green grocer’s truck came rambling down our driveway, Tippy stayed in her basket on our back porch. She never ventured near that truck again.

Alice DiNizo was raised in Vermont in those golden years just after World War II ended. She grew up in ArlingtonVermontwhere Norman Rockwell lived at that time with his family. She swam with her friends in the Battenkill River which flowed under the covered bridge that faced his home. Moving to New Jersey over forty years ago was an interesting experience for Alice, who writes under her cat’s name, J.B. But tough old girl that she is, she’s learned to love her adopted state and enjoys writing stories about it. She also reaches into her memory and writes stories about her family and childhood experiences. She lives at the New Jersey shore with her husband, dog and cats and contributes on a regular basis to


Patti Shene said...

Cute story, Alice! We had a cat one time who rode all the way to the next town on the axle of our car. My sis & I were waiting in the car for our parents to do some shopping and heard a "me-ow." Sure enough, there was Sudsie crouched under the car looking totally bewildered!

Claude Nougat said...

I was fascinated by this evocation of life in the US after WWII in what was then a "remote" region and by the image of the green grocer visiting farmers in his truck. Amazing how times have changed in a single generation!

Thanks for sharing such lovely memories, Alice, and congrats on a very well written piece!

Pamela S. Meyers said...

LOL I enjoyed this story a lot. A cat I had while growing up in the 50s and 60s used to like sleeping on the trunk of Dad's car - the warm sun, making it a nice toasty place to snooze. Once day my parents came out and got in the car, never looking at the trunk. As my dad started driving down the street, my mother looked over her shoulder and shouted, "Roger, stop the car!" She about scared Dad half to death, but he stopped. There was the cat walking around on top of the trunk, probably wondering "What in the world is going on and where am I going?" He got a ride back home inside the car.

Caroline said...

Love animal stories! (adore them actually: lol) We've had plenty cats and most of them are smart as all get out, but they're snobs too. :) We had one mother cat (when we lived in "the big house" in town who insisted on going down the hill, crossing the state road and on into a place that held what I call "junk" (it wasn't). When her kittens followed her, she'd pause and look both ways before leading them across the road. None of them were ever hit. Smart momma.