Once upon a time there was an independent little shop. The shop started small with a range of reasonably priced, reasonable quality goods. People liked it because it was not a franchise, a supermarket, a rip-off, had all sorts of useful items and the owner knew both his customers and his stock! He would rummage for items, reach off high shelves, unstack if the colour you wanted was at the bottom of the pile, discuss merits of brands, shoot the breeze, have a laugh, tell stories, give you directions if you were lost, or suggestions if he didn't stock what you wanted. Everything was good value, including the owner!
The little independent shop grew upwards to take in another floor and stacked all sorts of new items. It followed trends, but not slavishly, and was slow to abandon old trends. If you wanted an item out of season, or out of popularity, there it was. It was always a cramped little shop because of stocking such a variety of items, but that was part of the delight of going in. It was possible to buy such a variety of goods there that it saved time dragging all over the town with cross children and paying buckets of coins in parking fees. And what's more, being a dad, the owner was pretty tolerant of cross children and even better at making them giggle.
Time passed, the owner began to show his age and it became apparent that his memory was failing. He got confused easily and didn't know where to find items, which was, naturally, distressing.
Then one bright day a daughter returned to the shop full-time, unobtrusively taking over the ordering, organising, stock taking, locating items and keeping an eye to things. She stayed in the background whilst her Dad ran the till, chatted with the customers, told stories and jokes, and became almost his old self again, except for frequently calling on her when something was needed that he couldn't remember.
She's still there, running the show completely. She never laughs at him or makes sarky 'Dad jokes'. She never lets on to customers that she is the power behind the throne, though most people guess. She treats her Dad with respect and love and knows his frailty, and cussedness, and covers for him.
Its still an independent little shop, run by an independent man and his strong, loving daughter. Its still a great place to do all the odd errands in one place, hear a story and catch up on the chat. Its also a really heart warming place to mosey around and listen to the pair of them.
This is not a fairy tale. It will end sadly. But with dignity and self-respect intact, one man is growing old in his own kingdom, passing his time being useful and cheerful.
I don't know the daughter well enough to tell her how much I admire and respect her for each day she gives her father. She'd probably laugh if someone praised her for just selflessly doing her family duty.
But from where I stand, she's a hero.