Friday, November 18, 2011

{You Make Me Some Rye?}

Thursday is often my Goodwill day. I drop Drew off at his drum lesson and hop on over to do some thrifty shopping, keeping an eye out for bowls and Christmas books.

Yesterday, as I scanned the kitchen aisle, I was approached by a Russian man, I'm guessing in his late sixties. He motioned toward the baking dishes, "You like cook?"

I nodded. "Yes, but mostly I like to bake."

"Ahhh! What you like to bake?" he continued, with a strong accent.

"Well, I like to make cookies, muffins, bread . . . ."

He jumped on the last one. "Bread? What kind?"

"Well . . . " (I'm not accustomed to random conversations with strangers taking much longer than a sentence or two.) "I make whole wheat . . . French . . ."

"You make rye? It's healthier."

"I've never tried making rye . . . but I did just look at a recipe for it this afternoon . . . " (It was an uncanny coincidence. We're studying Russia in history right now, and I had just looked up recipes for borscht and rye.)

The conversation took an interesting turn when he lit up, revealing more than one missing tooth, and requested, "You make me some rye?"

I stammered. "Oh . . . um . . . I don't know . . . ." (I'm not at all accustomed to random conversations with strangers that take longer than a sentence or two and involve me making them a loaf of rye.)

I smiled, said something non-committal and evasive (I don't recall just what it was -- likely it was unintelligible) and motioned that I'd be looking at the next aisle over.

Rye Guy was not to be put off so easily. He rounded the corner in hot pursuit. "You make me some rye? How you like this?" He lifted a unique piece of pottery for me to observe.

I stammered. (Do you see a pattern here?) "Oh . . . that's nice . . . I'm not sure how I'd use it, though . . . ."

"Put cookies! You make me some rye?"

Again with the stammering. I glanced at the clock. "Well, I need to be going now to get my son. Enjoy your shopping!"

He smiled and followed. "You make me some rye?"

There were a number of other things he said, but I couldn't understand. One thing was clear, however. He really wanted that rye.

My mind raced, and I was so painfully aware of my inability to think on the spot. What does one do when approached by a rye-craving Russian? I've not been prepared for this scenario. My mother taught me to shout the Word of God at anyone who approached me with evil intent, but she didn't teach me how to handle the Rye Guy. He wasn't rude or belligerent. He just wanted him some rye.

I finally worked my way out of the store, smiling and wishing him a nice shopping trip accompanied by other stammered, evasive phrases. He raised his hand in one last attempt, "You make me some rye?"

When I finally got home, I told my husband the story. What was I supposed to do? Get his address and make him some rye? It seemed strange. He didn't appear to be needy or hungry. Jamie, tactful as ever, knew right away what he would have said to the guy: "Are you serious? You really want me to make you some rye? That's weird."

Now, I'm sure he wouldn't have said it outright. But he probably would have pursued the conversation a bit more to figure out if this guy actually expected to be presented with a loaf tomorrow morning.

My mind has been racing with the possible scenarios. I wish I had been a bit more bold in finding out exactly what he hoped for me to do (beyond the obvious making of the rye). I'll probably never know. Unless he's haunting the baking aisle next Thursday, still hoping for some rye.

So what would you have said to the Rye Guy? Really. I want to know.
Pin It


  1. Hmmm, the male-female dynamic always makes spontaneous conversations with strangers tricky. I think I would have asked him why he had a hankering for rye, which would have hopefully led to conversation about his country. Then I would have started praying fervently that our conversation about his homeland would naturally lead to a "Kingdom conversation." Unless he was a creeper, in which case I would have told him there's a great rye recipe on google that he's welcome to look up.

  2. I second what Sarah said! But I also have to admit to chuckling my way through this story. I know it was probably more unsettling than funny at the time, but really, who has a story about an odd, toothless, friendly, Russian, Rye Guy?

  3. Now you girls have me laughing! Sarah, I think the gender thing was definitely a biggie, along with the fact that I really couldn't understand most of what he was saying. Except for the rye part :). I love your Kingdom-minded hearts!

  4. Oh, golly, I'm laughing so hard I can't even think about what I would have said!!!!

    I dare you to go back there- but this time with a translator...

  5. Maybe I'll at least go back with my husband. Or some rye.

  6. Go back with the rye.....and pray he's there.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...