Sunset in Aruba
One of the things I miss about working in the service industry is the chance to meet people and listen to their stories. And everyone has story. When you wait tables you get to spend a brief amount of time with strangers as you take care of them and, hopefully, give them an enjoyable experience for an hour or so. I have met people who were celebrating special occasions. I have been part of first dates and last dates. I have witnessed engagements and one very memorable turn down of a proposal. I have served celebrities, both national and local. I had great conversations with so many different people and I still think about them at various moments. Seeding a pepper reminds of the very nice lady who was allergic to seeds. Eating a grapefruit reminds me of the lady who didn’t know what to do with the half grapefruit I set in front of her and asked how I expected her to eat it (my response, with a spoon). When I heat up soup I remember the lady who always ate by herself and ordered her soup extra hot (if I had the time I sat near her to do paperwork and talk with her). Olives make me think of the little boy who loved olives on his kid pizza. If I am cooking an egg I am reminded of the kind man who liked his eggs so runny we had to serve them in a bowl.
These are all examples of how people have an affect on our lives long after they have passed though our lives. Obviously not all my memories are pleasant (I had my fair share of difficult-to-please people), but I learned that a smile and good listening skills were invaluable tools in taking care of customers. As I have mentioned before, being kind is the best way to treat each other and ourselves.
This past weekend I helped a friend with her garage sale and I was reminded again how fun it is to encounter people for a brief moment in time and find out a little about them. My favorite story came from the man who stopped by with two pews in the back of his truck. When I asked him what he was going to do with them, he responded, very matter-of-factly with, “Well, we have miniature goats.” Not at all what I expected him to say! He then shared photos of his goats and told us he would make the pews into a sort of jungle gym for them. Then there was the extremely enthusiastic woman who was so thrilled to get a donation of school and craft supplies for underprivileged children that she kept thanking us and saying, “Right on!” She then shared her incredible story of being homeless and finding her path in life.
Once again I learned the lesson that taking the time to listen and be kind to others gives me a chance to see a glimpse into other lives and reaffirm my faith in the basic goodness of humans.
Last week was a whirlwind that ended with my father-in-law’s 91st birthday! I didn’t do a lot of new cooking so no new recipe this week. And I hope the photos I have included will make you smile.
Our cat, Burt, after I unpacked groceries and I left the empty bag on the floor