Thursday, November 24, 2005


Tuesday night we stopped at Woodman's for some Krispy Kremes. Woodman's, in case you didn't know, is a Madison institution, an astonishingly huge and well-stocked supermarket.

The joint was jumping, as you might expect on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It was the first holiday bustle I've encountered this fall -- nothing compared to last night's, I'm sure -- and although the shoppers were harried and purposeful, I also saw something I rarely see in Madison: people making eye contact with me and smiling. Their sheepish expressions seemed to say, Here We Go Again. I'm sure this goodwill is going to wear off once the true holiday grind sets in, but it's fun while it lasts.

Amid the bustle there was one pocket of stillness, however. In the front of the store, in a tiny room with a tiny window, two unhappy young women in puffy jackets were being detained by three women police officers. It was a shoplifting bust. One officer was in charge. She interrogated the blonde suspect and then the brunette, perhaps trying to catch them in an inconsistency.

The other two officers watched expressionlessly. Or almost expressionlessly: at one point a young mother came by as, behind her, a child of perhaps four walked very slowly and wailed. Momentarily distracted, one of the gun-wielding policewomen allowed a grin of amusement and sympathy to flash across her face. Then, catching herself, she sobered and returned her gaze to the miscreants.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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