I seem to find people stories that interest me everywhere I go.
During my recent weekend getaway with Goodnight, we went out to eat at a restaurant. I hadn’t been there before, so I was just about to browse the menu, when our server came to the table and asked us if we were ready to order.
The restaurant was located in an unincorporated community in northern Minnesota with a population of 22. The 2010/2011 Mayor was a high school student. They know how to do restaurants, though. There are four of them and during the tourist season, the population of 22 grows to a work force of over 100 people. I can’t say for certain, but I want to guess that the gentle woman with the gray/white hair who waited on us was one of the residents.
When she approached our table, I said hello and asked her what they had on the menu (because I hadn’t had time to look at it). She replied, “We have mashed potatoes.”
My eyebrows went up instantly because I thought it was a curious first response. I smiled at her, but she must have caught my reaction.
“Oh my goodness, let me back up and start in the right place,” she responded.
I tried to disarm her embarrassment, “Oh!!! Thanks ok. I love mashed potatoes and what you’ve done with your hair for work is just beautiful.” I had no idea I had chosen the right thing to say. It just came out naturally.
She dropped her arms, relaxed immediately, and said, “Well, this time last year I didn’t have any hair to do up. I was going through chemo.”
That’s an easy chat for me. Been there, done that with Angel. Our server was content to stand at our table and share for a moment. I wanted her to sit for a while and take it easy, but she probably would have had none of that. She was sweet, healthy and her hair was indeed fixed in an attractive style – the kind that shows a woman has taken some time on it.
I try not to take people for granted and encounters with them don’t have to be lengthy to make an impression on me. I admired our server, who was coming back from serious illness, working at her job with dignity, and not complaining about her lot in life. She didn’t even take her hair for granted . . . . something I do on a regular basis.
Good lesson, good reminder, and now a good memory.
Goodnight and I settled in on our menu selection, but we added . . . . mashed potatoes.