Unexpected in the best of all possible ways…

Woodstock Village felt dark and abandoned on a sunny 50 plus degree day this week. The only visible sign of human life were a few people safely staying a required distance apart while waiting to pick up their prescriptions outside of Woodstock Pharmacy. The occasional car passed by while I waited in the car for my husband to get his prescription.  We did not need to worry about parking spots or meters. We had located the perfect spot without competition. So sad to see the village so palpably quiet with “closed” signs decorating the retail stores front doors. Only a matter of weeks ago we were freely popping in and out of each and every business we support. I love the Village. I love this Village.  I love the rhythm of Woodstock Village. While it is quiet now it will not remain this way. The structures are strong, and the people are even stronger…

My husband, Jon quickly crossed the unusually quiet street and in no time picked up his prescription from the Pharmacy.  I noticed the bag appeared bigger than what felt necessary for his order, but I didn’t think much more about it until this morning.  Friday April 10, 1981, I married my best friend.  The sky was blue, temps in the 60’s as spring was making an appearance in my small childhood hometown in Massachusetts.  When Jon called to refill his prescription the other day, he asked if an anniversary card for me could be selected?  This is Woodstock Pharmacy so of course they graciously said yes and indulged his out of the ordinary request. Not only would she select one from him to me, but she would also choose one to him from me.  Jon gave a couple of humorous guidelines but put the card selecting process in her kind and capable hands. 

This Friday morning April 10, 2020 the South Pomfret landscape was snow covered including the daffodils that have been anxiously waiting to bloom. I routinely walked into my kitchen early this morning and noticed a card with my name on it and another still in a small bag. On the small white bag was written: Happy Anniversary! Mrs. Ricketson (to give to your husband) accompanied by a beautifully drawn heart with an arrow through it. I just stopped as I not only found this to be a very romantic gesture but the knowledge that someone at a particularly very busy place of business took the time to do this for us was just incredible. Unforgettable.  I opened the small bag to look at the card she had selected and as my heart warmed and a smile appeared on my face, I thought to myself that the sentiment was perfect, and I would have quite possibly have picked the same exact card for Jon. How did she know? During those brief and friendly interactions over the many months of picking up prescription from the pharmacy did she learn more about us than I could have imagined possible? I would like to believe this happens elsewhere and if it does the model was Woodstock, VT. 

I am always impressed when we hear reports of survival after devastation. After a tornado strikes an area there is inevitably a report of a family photo that has surfaced amongst the rubble or a family heirloom that remained unbroken while the kitchen table has landed in a neighbor’s lot. Are we made aware of sentimental items and gestures during our darkest moments because when it truly comes down to it, that is exactly what we hope to find?  When all else feels lost our humanity rises.  When this is over, I won’t remember that we were out of flour, but I will remember forever the words and actions of family, friends and the people that make up our community. I am very grateful for the new friends that will forever be in my heart…just wish Jon had asked her name!

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

One thought

  1. Liz, Happy Anniversary to you and Jon! I wish all the happiness and love to you both. Your words brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

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