Bellbottom Blog

Scratching A Writing Itch From Time To Time


This one comes from a trip to the grocery store.

As I was checking my purchases out through the U-Scan, the woman in charge of the area said,”Did you stop lifting weights?”

The guy at the next scanner and I turned around at the same time.

She was looking at him.

He said, ” Yeah, a long time ago. Do I know you?”

“I remember when you used to work here.”

“That was 13 years ago.”

“I never forget a face, but I have a hard time remembering names. Do you remember that blonde girl you had a crush on? She got married a few years ago.”

He stopped his scanning and turned to face this woman who knew so much about his life from his brief time working at this store. They fell into a conversation in which he got her caught up on what he had been up to since she had last seen him.

It was like watching a reunion of sorts.

There are people like this in all of our lives. They observe everything quietly. Not in an intrusive way. Casually.

We blow by them. Paying little, if any, attention to these folks.

In this case, I am sure it was because he was so young and it never occurred to him that the quiet older  lady might have something to contribute to his life. Maybe her knowledge about working there. Maybe something else. He missed out back then but today he hopefully learned a valuable lesson.

Not every old person is a fountain of knowledge, but it is worth a brief conversation to find out one way or another.




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12 thoughts on “Respect

  1. miaoia on said:

    I loved this post so much. Him Indoors and I lived with his gran for 10 years. She was 82 when she started living with us. She drove (like Dick Dastardly on crack) right up to being 88. She had to walk with two sticks, had a variety of health problems, but never let ANYTHING, EVER get her down. After you’ve lived in Rome throughout WW II and seen people dying of starvation on the street everything else life throws at you seems doable somehow I guess. She was incredibly quirky, funny and intelligent. She never lost that. Right up until the day she died at the age of 92. Her first question to us when she’d come home if she’d been out to m-in-law’s for dinner or lunch was “Avete mangiato?” – “Have you eaten?” Even a few hours before death, when she was hooked up to all manner of tubes in the hospice, had pretty much lost the ability to speak and was drifting in and out of consciousness on seeing my husband (who she raised practically as his mother had to work throughout his childhood) she lifted her head slightly off the pillow and said very, very softly “Avete mangiato?” – they were her last words. I’m crying now. Best go get some tea. R.I.P Ie. Thanks John for reminding us how much we can learn from the elderly. xxx

    • You painted such a vivid picture of her. Just imagining her surviving WW ll and the aftermath is incredible. But the last moments she had on earth were with the ones she loved. That is a real blessing.

      • miaoia on said:

        🙂 It was hard sharing our home with another person as we started out in our life together. It would have been difficult irrespective of their age. We had to sacrifice a lot. However it made us stronger as a couple. I don’t regret it at all. I feel privileged that at such a young age (I was 22 when we started living with Ie) I was able to gradually see the world through the eyes of a person 60 years my senior who had a totally different perspective on life. It was an enriching experience and not a day goes by when I don’t miss her. Obviously I’m glad Him Indoors and I can have the advantages of our own home together now, just the two of us, but I still miss Ie. I talk to her sometimes. That helps. 🙂

    • What a great story.

      Incidentally, I haven’t eaten yet.

      • miaoia on said:

        Thanks 🙂 Sort out the eating. I’m going to go out to the baker’s and get some freshly baked pizza for breakfast I think.

  2. It seems strange to think about the connection between our lives that sometimes remains invisible. Sometimes in person, and sometimes online. I don’t always comment. I do always read your blog and use it to reflect back on my own life.

  3. debihen on said:

    You’ve described one of those “It’s a Wonderful Life” moments that reminds us that we do make an impression wherever we go, and people are watching. We touch people in good ways and bad everyday. And they remember. Nice story.

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