a hello and a smile (itty bitty thoughts)

a hello and a smile (itty bitty thoughts)

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In a small town,

the grocery store

counts as a social gathering.

You run into people you know.

You catch up on life with others.

There is a bit of magic in a small town grocery store.

 

But the grocery store magic isn’t happening right now.

Or lately.

Or this year.

It’s way too quiet.

The fact that you can even hear the piped in music is creepy.

People don’t talk to each other.

There are no conversations.

The mood feels like

head down,

get your items,

get home.

It’s a somber gray

of muck – sludge – fog.

Like the grocery store

has become a holding tank

for frozen fruit

and noodles

and paper towels

and everyone’s unspoken frustrations

about life.

 

So yesterday I’m there,

standing by a cooler

checking out a sale on cream cheese

and an employee I have never seen before

comes out of the back room storage area with a huge

HELLO!

to me.

And I can’t see the bottom half of his face 

(because, mask)

but I can tell from his eyes that he is smiling.

And to every person he passes

on his way to the front of the store,

he says a beautiful

HELLO!

 

HELLO!

HELLO!

and

HELLO!

 

And it wasn’t that he had a loud voice

but his puff of energy cut through 

the muck

and the sludge

and the fog.

Like he breathed clarity into something.

Like he breathed life into something.

Like he breathed

we are all still here

and this is still life

and we can do this

so

HELLO

and HELLO TO YOU!

 

And you know what happened?

 

The people

started to say

hello

back.

 

You know what else happened?

 

The people

even started

to

smile.

 

See,

you can be frustrated

angry 

pissed off at

and tired of

What’s Going On.

(I think most of us are

in similar or different ways.)

But

that guy who said

HELLO

with a smile in his voice

and a smile in his eyes

was stuck in my head all day.

 

I’m not stupid enough

to think he’s blind to

What’s Going On

in the world.

But I also know

he’s not blind to what

a HELLO!

and a smile

can still do.

 

  — Amy Dingmann 10/25/20

Bookmark ITTY BITTY THOUGHTS and come back to check out what I post tomorrow! I’d love your thoughts on today’s post in a comment below or via email at [email protected]

 

In a world that has turned to gray muck-sludge-fog, a hello and a smile is even *more* important.



9 thoughts on “a hello and a smile (itty bitty thoughts)”

  • The eyes always tell what’s going on in the soul. I’ve seen many a smile with sad, sad eyes.
    I miss NOT hearing the store music. The other day I noticed how atrocious it is! πŸ˜‰

    • Our local Wal-mart just recently put in a speaker system outside in the parking lot in which they play peppy upbeat music….I wondered if they are trying to get people in a better mood before they get inside the store?

  • Agreed that it is important to keep saying “hello” but I sure do miss SEEING those friendly smiles from people in the grocery store that you don’t even know personally. The masks have isolated us. Head down, pass someone as quickly as possible if you must, say “sorry” to the person who shows by body language that you’ve offended them by impinging on their social distancing space. Having gotten that rant off my chest, I am seeing a shift in the general attitude of people. It’s almost like they’ve had as much of this doom and gloom, unease and anxiety they can stand and realize they have to shake it off to the extent possible and get back to acting in a friendly, good feeling producing way. And, golly-gosh, do we all need it. Kudos to your new guy in your grocery store . . . and for you for reminding me to go that extra step in any way I can to help in this ugly-bugly situation we’re all in.

  • Thank you so much, Amy, for this little reminder! And I agree with Mama Pea’s comment….we’ve got to shake off this gloomy blah that has just seemed to settle on everyone’s shoulders. I have been feeling it myself for quite a while and I’m ready to be rid of it. It’s amazing how much just common courtesy things, like holding the door for someone, smiling and wishing someone a good day, or just saying HI can make a big difference in someone’s day and give that little glimpse of sunshine in all the gloom. Thank you again for the reminder….listening to your podcast and reading your “Itty Bitty Thoughts” are a highlight to my week. Keep up the good work! πŸ™‚

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