“Hi Sharon,” greeted Lori as I entered her used and new book store. Returning the sentiment I went to the back. It felt good to be recognized by the store owner. Growing up in a small town where the town population fluctuated between 800-1000 residents it was an adjustment moving to a larger area. Granted this was just one of many cities I had live in since leaving the comforts of Northern Maine so many years ago. Over the years we have moved numerous times to cities of various sizes. Where I was no exception, my area had over 200K in number.
Having a place like Lori’s that made one feel cozy was nice. Lori always called when James Patterson or Stephen King had a book out. She knew I was their number one fan well in my heart and soul. I would be asked if I wanted a particular book or not, if I did she would hold it for me. There has been times she has called and the money was just not there for me to purchase the book. I would tell her to just put it on the shelf for I was not getting paid for another two weeks. Not a problem would always be her reply as she would place it in the back to wait for me. In the beginning I would tell her that if someone else wanted it to please sell the novel. She is running a business after all. This was something to this day she has never done. If I wanted it , the book would be there waiting for me. I don’t know about you but I am not familiar with any book store holding something for a customer that long. She is a gem for lack of a better word.
The kindness is continued by other shops locally. Being in a military town there is no lack of pawn shops. The one we visit has a layaway plan for 90 days. One of the rules is you must not lose your original ticket. A recent trip found me unable to find this little sheet of paper. Expressing my concern to the lady at the front counter I was informed not to worry. We know you and that you’re a good customer, this will not be an issue. They knew me by face and name and that was sufficient for them.
This kindness continues. The church we attend is not very big as far as membership but it still manages to have three masses during the weekend. Sitting in the same pew for a few years people get accustom to us as they nod and say hello inside and outside the church ground. Learning our names as we celebrate together.
All of the people who interact with me from the examples above will nod and say hello when they see me out in the community. It does a body good. While it is not easy adjusting to change these little experiences help. Adapting and overcoming is the key especially when our family is not near us. It is times like this that make our place in this city a home. I will probably never meet a good portion of the people who filter through the roads and businesses that lace our area. But that’s okay. For the ones I’m coming across are making our surroundings special and giving us lasting memories.