I circled the lot three times looking for a parking space. Just a quick Home Depot trip, in and out, one item that was it. Our redwood deck needed a good scrub and I'd bought wood deck cleaner there before, but had no idea what it was called or more importantly, where it was in the huge store.
"Aisle 19, I think," a young clerk said looking lost and bewildered.
I headed to the aisle and saw an 88 year old man looking for the same thing. A rep from the Behr paint company was there too, giving advice.
I can't remember who started the conversation but we soon found that the man was a 30 year Army veteran, a man who'd served 19 years overseas, including WWII, Korea and Vietnam. We talked about his service and mine for what must have been 45 minutes. He'd had three daughters, two born in Germany while he was stationed there. We'd been housed at the same base, McGraw Kaserne, near Munich but at different decades. We had been in some of the same places stateside, most notably Fort Benning Georgia.
Time flew, and we both bought our deck cleaners. We parted, but not until I shook his hand and rendered a long-forgotten hand salute.
I got home and my wife asked, "How was it, Home Depot, I mean?"
"Great, I said, a good Memorial Day trip."
She's still wondering what I meant by that.