I saw, crossing the green, a woman pulling a red tartan shopping trolley. She wore a navy headscarf knotted at her chin, a beige Burberry style trench coat belted tight against the wind and thick, comfortable shoes. She was not unlike my mother. But that couldn’t be her. I watched her. She moved with some speed, though slightly stooped. She was taking the quieter route to the shops. Head pushed out, determined on her way.
I loved my Saturdays off and usually got the bus into the city. I had things to do, friends to meet. I would frown at these women with trolleys. How they held up the bus queue, pulling their trolleys, laden down with the weekly shop, on and off the bus. I would raise my eyes to heaven and say “Spare me from ever having one of those.”
Long after my mother died, I had an operation. On leaving hospital they warned me not to carry anything, do any heavy work or drive for six weeks. What did I think of when I had to get turf down from the garage? My mother’s tartan shopping trolley of course.
Some days later in her shed I rooted out her old red trolley. Strewn about the bottom of the trolley, in my mother’s lovely hand writing, were several shopping lists which always began milk, sugar, butter, tea…….….. and on one she had written a “present for Rosaleen.”