Thursday, November 3, 2011
**Seeing the two of them up at a door together? Now that's a moment.**
One of our recent family walks (we do a lot of those), Rockstar suggested that we try out a local BBQ shop near our house that we'd never tried. It's a family owned business, and he loves to support those. We stopped in, and ordered hot dogs for the kids and beef brisket for Rockstar(luckily there is also salmon on the menu for the pesca-vegetarians among us). While waiting, the engaging shop owner chatted us up about HS football and other local happenings. A few other people stopped in for food who clearly knew her and got equally friendly treatment.
As we walked home, I smiled to myself as Rockstar talked about the pleasure of finding little businesses like that.
**Then there is the pleasure of seeing Tiny dressed up as Rosetta. In case you are out of the loop, she's one of Tink's friends.**
A week later, we were driving past the BBQ shop again and Rockstar said out of the blue, "Wanna stop there for lunch?" Now, I'm always ready to dine out, but the husband usually takes a little more convincing. So if it's his idea? Yes, sir.
**Drummer's idea was usually to walk inside the house when the door opened. I had Tiny run interference.**
We walked in and the owner recognized us immediately. We ordered our food and again chatted while we waited. I realized that she had an Irish accent that I'd missed the first time.
**The wings missed the memo about staying upright. I assured Tiny that their flying capabilities would not be diminished by hanging upside down.**
She offered Drummer an irish rubgy ball to play with and told me not to worry if he ran circles around the store.
She laughed as Tiny danced on her stool.
**Dancing off on a sugar high!**
We talked about naming our children and the differences between Irish and American names.
Then we ate our food and left. "Good to see you again!" She called.
Rockstar and I looked at each other as we walked out, feeling full in more than one way. I knew we'd be back soon.
**I get the same feeling after a night of smiling at our neighbor's children and their adorable get-ups.**
It's true that in the influx of technology, something of community has been lost. Of course there are new online communities that have popped up to replace them, but as I left that shop, I knew there was nothing that could ever replace that face to face connection.
Nothing can replace the fact that it feels good to have a local shop-owner know your kids names. To stop and talk to your neighbor on your way in from work, and help them shovel their walk in the winter. To chat with fellow moms at the playground.
Having those connections makes the world feel a little safer and a little happier.
**Apparently, candy does that for Drummer. Look at that expression! He deserved it since he said, 'thank oo', to everyone who gave him candy--unprompted!!**
That doesn't always come naturally to me. In a doctor setting, I've learned to be pretty extroverted. But on the playground and in restaurants? My shy side comes out and I'd probably keep to myself if it weren't for an outgoing husband and run-ins with equally friendly strangers.
**Tiny elected to keep her candy to herself and Drummer was none too pleased.**
But our few trips to the BBQ shop have reminded me how satisfying it is to push outside of that initial barrier and build communities. Because now that I've been in a few times? I feel like I could walk in and feel totally comfortable asking the owner about the season closer for our football team, and I'm glad for that.
I'm realizing more and more how that's something worth cultivating. That there's a benefit in turning more strangers into acquaintances. How a smile and a short conversation can brighten a day. How knowing that I'm connected to the people around me, makes my own house feel more like home.