Credit: George Danby

In any marriage there are certain responsibilities each partner accepts to make the relationship work. For example it is the man’s responsibility to take care of the outside of the house while it is the woman’s responsibility to take care of the inside of the house. At least that is what I believe.

The other day I went to Hannaford’s with my wife to pick up a few things for a gathering we were having the next day. I was simply there to lend a helping hand, load the groceries into the truck, take them out of the truck and finally place them on the kitchen floor.

Every now and then my wife would ask me to find something she couldn’t find or get something she forgot to pick up when she was down another aisle. On this particular day I was asked to go to the deli counter to get some mozzarella balls. I took the job happily because even I couldn’t mess up getting the mozzarella balls.

After the young lady behind the counter gave me the balls of the mozzarella I took them to my wife. She immediately scolded me because I had purchased the wrong sized mozzarella balls.

“They come in different sizes?” I said.

She took my hand and walked me back to the deli counter where, to her surprise, she saw there was only one size of mozzarella balls. I tried hard not to smirk because being right is not something I am accustomed to in any difference of opinion with my wife.

We continued our shopping until she discovered that she hadn’t picked up the two bunches of scallions she needed. She then sent me on my second mission.

I arrived at the vegetable section of the grocery store and started looking for bunches of scallions and it was at that moment I realized I had no idea what a scallion was. I immediately sought out a store employee working in the produce section and asked where the scallions were. He gave me an odd look and handed me two bunches of green onions. I then noticed that he was filling up the produce section clearly labeled, ‘scallions.” Proudly, I went back to my wife.

I found her at the other end of the store in the frozen food section and triumphantly handed her the two bunches of scallions. She asked me where I had put the bag that I was supposed to put the scallions in?

I hiked all the way back across the store to the produce section, put the scallions in the bags provided in front of all the loose fruits and vegetables and went back to my wife.

My wife, now deeply involved with what types of pasta to buy for the pasta salad, asked me to get her a can of thinly sliced black olives. Not having a clue where to find something I never knew existed, I sought out another store employee to ask where I could find the olives. He told me they were across from the wine section about half way down the aisle. This made sense because olives have belonged in every martini I have ever been involved with.

I found the olive section and was shocked to discover that there were many different types of sliced black olives. There were thickly or thinly sliced black olives and there were sliced black olives in water and in oil. I knew I was doomed. Whatever I chose would be wrong. So, I took one of each.

Back at the shopping cart, I showed the olives to my wife and asked which ones she wanted. My wife looked at the multiple varieties of cans I was holding and told me I did not have the ones she wanted.

How was that possible, I thought? I had grabbed every sort of black olive that had ever been created since the early days of the Greek Empire. Once again my wife led me back to where the olives were displayed, reached into a shelf and pulled out a can of thinly sliced black olives in water. I was impressed.

In any marriage there are certain responsibilities each partner accepts to make the relationship work. Grocery shopping is obviously way out of my depth.

Jim Fabiano is a retired teacher and writer in York.