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 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
get your items,
It’s a somber gray
of muck – sludge – fog.
Like the grocery store
has become a holding tank
for frozen fruit
and paper towels
and everyone’s unspoken frustrations
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
And I can’t see the bottom half of his face
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
And it wasn’t that he had a loud voice
but his puff of energy cut through
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
and HELLO TO YOU!
And you know what happened?
started to say
You know what else happened?
you can be frustrated
pissed off at
and tired of
What’s Going On.
(I think most of us are
in similar or different ways.)
that guy who said
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
and a smile
can still do.
— Amy Dingmann 10/25/20
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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! 😉
Store music is weird. It’s extra weird when you can actually hear it because there is no hustle and bustle to drown it out. 😉
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?
I offered to help an elderly woman put a case of water in her cart the other day and it Terrified her.
A good “Hello” can change the world!
It’s so simple…and yet people are so tired of everything it seems like a pointless thing to do. We’ve got to keep saying hello. 🙂
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! 🙂