This is a Henke's in Houston years before I was born. The one in Pasadena had a giant book-looking thing on the roof. Does anyone remember?
When I was a kid, the two major grocery stores nearest to our house were Weingarten’s and Henke & Pillot, which we pronounced “Hinky and Pea-lot.”
I don’t know if that’s the correct pronunciation, but it’s the only one I ever heard. If anyone had ever pronounced it “Hen-key and Pill-ot,” the Operation Bluebook people would’ve investigated them. This was back when “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was a big deal.
I always hated the movie plots where no one believed the guy who warned of space invaders. You can hear the thing breathing behind the arborvitae bush, yet no one notices. Makes me want to slap somebody.
My kid sister Jill is the same way. In fact, today while we were visiting the Big Kroger in Willis, something happened to make us both turn simultaneously and point to the other like in the remake of Body Snatchers. The one with Donald Sutherland. I don’t remember what it was that sparked the reaction, but, when it happened, Jill and I pointed at each other and let out one of the screams from the movie, only we whispered the scream. (You’re gonna hafta rent the movie.)
There was only the one Body Snatcher moment while we were at the Big Kroger. We really enjoyed the B K experience. I’ve been to many a Kroger, and I’ve been to Willis, but it was the first time for us to go to the Big Kroger in Willis.
The B K has everything from towels to tables, nuts to nightlights, and bulbs to barometers. Wait a minute. What I saw may have been a digital rain gage. I don’t do much studying when I shop. Kay and Jill? They study.
If you ever get separated in a Wal-Mart, you might as well try to find your car and hope your spouse remembers where you parked. The Big Kroger is much less cramped. The aisles are wider and the place much more user friendly. If your vision is good enough, you could spot your spouse from a hundred yards away.
After saying that, I still lost Kay and Jill. At one point I asked a guy walking by if he had seen my sister. He said, “No. Have you seen my wife?” The second time I ran into him, we were both still wifeless and I was sisterless.
We stopped and talked awhile by one of the three egg displays. Ray recognized me from my newspaper picture. When his wife eventually happened by he told her, “Hey, this is the guy who sits on the roof.” She was speechless. No, I mean she had nothing to say.
A few minutes later another guy recognized me. He told me that he was the guy who wrote a letter to the paper about 15 years ago in response to an article I wrote about cats. I thought the article humorous, but the Super Cat PAC clobbered me. His letter was the only one in support of my tongue-in-cheek cat trashing. I would’ve hugged him, but someone around us might’ve seen the Body Snatcher remake.
I was standing in line at the B K Starbucks when I caught a glimpse of Jill and Kay about a mile and a half away. Did I mention the place was spacious? I vacated my place in line and ran to meet them. Caught up with ‘em at an egg display. (I made that up.)
On top of the piled-high cart were two throw pillows. Kay told me she was getting them because they only cost $5.99.” Kay never adds a penny to a 99. I don’t care if it was $999.99 she wouldn’t call it a thousand.
After my “whatever” expression, she said, “Would you like me to go back and get the matching couch?” I’m not kidding. The Big Kroger sells couches! And, they've got a jewelry store and a place that dispenses pounds of nuts, spices and chocolate weird things.
Even with the long wait at the checkout, I give the Willis B K a big thumbs up. Jill liked it, too. She bought a whistling tea kettle. Was eager to get home and try it out. – Hey, we were rather sheltered as kids. Back in the day, we only went to church and places like Weingarten’s and Hinky & Pea-lot.
Speaking of which, I’m so glad Henke and Pillot don’t own the Big Kroger. The name “Big Hinky & Big Pealot” might scare people away..