Day 307: CVS Pharmacy

cvs pharmacy

My first for today was to visit a new store that opened recently in Joplin. We have several Walgreens in the Joplin area, and pharmacies in the many local Walmarts. New to town is CVS Pharmacy, located on the corner of 32nd and Main Street.

I had an opportunity, while I was out this afternoon, to stop by CVS. I drive by often, and I was happy to get a peek inside the store. CVS Pharmacy is the second largest pharmacy chain in the US, after Walgreens, with more than 7600 stores. They sell prescription drugs and a wide assortment of merchandise including over the counter drugs, beauty products and cosmetics, cards and gifts, film and photo processing and convenience foods. The company was founded in Lowell, MA, in 1963, under the name Consumer Value Store. The owners, Sid Goldstein, Stanley Goldstein and Ralph Hoagland, launched the store as a discount health and beauty aid franchise. Customers were originally required to bag their own purchases.

In 1996 the name was changed to CVS Health Corporation with the initials standing for Customer, Value, Service. Over the years this company has acquired, through acquisitions and mergers, many other pharmacy companies, growing the brand to the current status of second in the nation in both number of stores and number of prescriptions filled. This year CVS made the decision to stop selling tobacco products in their stores. And just today, the retail chain announced an in-store fundraising campaign to help raise funds for the fight against cancer. Called Stand Up to Cancer, customers have the opportunity at the cash register to make a $1 donation. The company has made a three year commitment to donate $10 million dollars to fund cancer research.

I had no idea that today started the campaign, yet it turned out to be a great day to visit. Trusting in my journey, things work out the way they are supposed to! I enjoyed browsing through the bright, clean store. The aisles are wide and there is an ample variety of product. CVS offers an in-store card that when used gives discounts and collects points that can be used later for purchases. I talked to Tim, the store manager, who happens to be a friend of mine, and learned about some of the company policies and procedures, all geared toward customer service.

CVS is located near my home. I am sure I’ll be a frequent visitor. My first experience was very pleasant. And as I checked out at the register, I was able to make a $1 donation toward fighting cancer. I appreciate that the company is not only making a huge donation to fight cancer, but has decided to remove tobacco products as well, as these contribute to the disease. Health, it would seem, is a priority indeed at CVS.

There was a funny moment, as the cashier rang up my small purchase and added the donation. She looked at me with a perplexed look on her face and finally said, “Your total comes to $6.66… that a problem?” I laughed. I know that number bothers some people. If it had bothered her too much, I would have added another dollar to my donation. I was fine with the amount, and paid it happily. She was relieved.

cvs pharmacy su2c

Day 306: 5 Week Middle-Earth Movie Marathon Week 2

5 week middle earth movie marathon week 2

Today marked the beginning of week two of the marathon, leading up to the release in December of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The Middle-Earth movie this week is the middle film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. Tonight I settled in with a cup, or two, of hot tea and the extended edition of this action packed movie. As with the other LOTR movies, I’ve seen this one many times. It is watching it as part of a marathon that sets this viewing apart, as is the fact that I have journeyed far since last watching the film and I am watching with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. As the saying goes, no man steps into the same river twice….and the same Cindy doesn’t watch the same movie twice.

I have regarded Two Towers as a dark movie, bridging The Fellowship of the Ring, which establishes storyline and characters, with the triumphant conclusion in The Return of the King. It is certainly a part of the story, and truly, the three films are one tale. That opinion was before this evening. Tonight, I set aside my perceptions of this middle segment of a larger story, and just watched, allowing the story to unfold and the fellowship, now broken into three companies, to continue on their quests. And…I loved watching Two Towers. I had forgotten how beautiful it is, both in its stunning cinematography and in the development of the familiar characters from the first film and in the new ones introduced here.

Although charged with the main task of taking the ring to Mordor, Frodo and Sam are the lesser characters in this movie. I see the relationship between the two Hobbits deepening, with Sam, the gardener turned bodyguard, assuming more and more responsibility for the duty they have been burdened with. Gollum has joined their little band, and he is such a presence, and represents such an advancement in technology, that it is easy to forget he is computer generated. Merry and Pippan spend most of this movie in Fangorn Forest, while Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli range from tracking the Hobbits to defending Helm’s Deep.

My heart expanded the most watching the return of the wizard, who is no longer Gandalf the Grey, but Gandalf the White. He is the hero of this second movie, as Aragorn is still finding his way to the throne, and seeking the courage within to take it. The beauty of Gandalf, the wisdom and steely certainty about what he must do, is wonderful to watch. He no longer needs to ask anyone in his order what to do. He knows. He is grace and strength personified. I was struck tonight with remembering how Gandalf feared to go into the mines of Moira, in FOTR, knowing the fiery balrog was there. His account of not only facing the balrog, “You shall not pass!”, but pursuing the beast through fire and water, to the mountaintop, until at last he could declare “I threw down my enemy”, inspires me to as relentlessly face and pursue my own dark fears.

One of my favorite scenes in this movie tonight was the freeing of King Thèoden in the land of Rohan. The king is aged and rendered immobile by the constant evil whispering in his ear by Grima Wormwood. Poison enters the king’s mind, by way of words, and darkens it. What an amazing portrayal of the effect of negativity. Gandalf brings light back into Thèoden’s life, removing the source of darkness. I am very fond of the king. His physical transformation is rapid, his mental and spiritual transformations are slower to emerge. When his kingdom is threatened, he relies on what he has always done, to survive, rather than being willing to experience a new way. His adherence to old habits, or limiting beliefs, nearly destroys all that he holds dear. Aragorn begins to step into his kingly role, coming alongside King Thèoden as one who helps, rather than taking power from him. Aragorn calls Thèoden out, and the king responds.

I recognize now that Two Towers is a very powerful movie, not just filler in the middle to get me on to the next film. It is all important, all part of the journey, all woven together to create the adventure. The same is true for me. Some segments of my journey have been less than spectacular, not pretty, full of battles and fears and uncertainty about my role in my own story. And yet, those episodes in my life are not filler either, getting me on to better times. They are vital, and necessary, parts of my ongoing journey and the powerful truths are there, for me to uncover and learn from. Those are big ahas tonight, to draw from a middle movie in a trilogy. I just love how things like that work out.

two towers