Battle on Aisle 6


by Gerald Bunton



It all began with a simple order of grocery using Instacard delivery service. Normally they will deliver within a day or so but today they were so backed up that it would be 14 days before they could deliver. I canceled the order and decided to put on the gloves, mask and garden shoes that are always left outside and go to the market.

Tops parking lot was amazingly empty at 7am so armed with my small spray tube of hand sanitizer I went in. There was a young lady that was wiping down the grocery carts also wearing a mask.

The shelves were well stocked and most of the staff was wearing gloves and masks. I was happily shopping along until I approached aisle 6.

The sign said “paper products”! Most of the shelves in that aisle looked as bare as a field after a swarm of locust had passed. But mid-aisle were two lonely packages of toilet paper and they were waiting just for me.  At the other end of the aisle was another shopper and he was looking at my two packages. Then we made eye contact like two gladiators stepping into the arena. He knew that there could only be one winner in this struggle. My surgical mask was beginning to balloon in and out as I filled my lungs with oxygen to fuel the dash down the aisle. My fingers gripped the handle of the shopping cart like the brakeman on an Olympic bobsled team, ready for that dynamic push off. My P.W.Minor custom made orthopedic shoes grip the floor like a pair of Puma track shoes.

We stare at each other then with a simple nod we head down that track . Legs pumping like 2 well balanced pistons, chest heaving pumping in gallons of air to fuel this dynamic machine. We get closer to the prize and with one bear-like swipe of my left arm the prize is mine just as the two carts crash together like a bad day at the race track.

I smile and say “excuse me” as we separated and he knows that I am the victor.  I walk away humming  “We are the Champion”.

Now where is that shopping list?


Gerald Bunton is a native of Woodburn, KY and a long-time Rochester resident.  He has been married 40 plus years, is a grandfather, great grandfather, retired millwright, urban fish farmer and currently an organic gardener.