Hide and Seek
The birds are hungry! We’ve been going through a twenty pound bag of birdseed about every ten days. At $17 a bag, that was expensive. So, yesterday, Lee went on-line searching for a less costly bag of seeds the birds would actually eat. We’d bought cheaper varieties only to have them sit untouched in the feeders. He found a twenty pound bag for $6.99 at a tractor store about ten miles from our home. It had great reviews, so we went there last night to buy a bag.
Sitting in lawn chairs by the front door, was a man dressed in camouflage. At his feet was a massive, overweight white boxer. Beside him, in another lawn chair, was a young boy also in camo about ten years old. As we approached, the dog and the boy stood up and walked towards us. Lee reached down to pet the dog as the man greeted us with, “How you folks tonight?” While we both answered and stroked the friendly pup, the boy lunged closer until he was inches from Lee’s face and shouted, “I know you!”
Lee and the boy shared of meeting at the electronics store where Lee works. Then the boy asked if we’d buy a raffle ticket to support his 4-H club. The prize was to be our choice of two different guns. The 4-H event the $5 contribution supported was the BB shooting competition. The dad joined in as both told of how fierce the competition was and how it was strictly funded by this very fund-raiser. The dad told of how they’d been beat last year by a girl from a neighboring county who was competing for the very first time.We visited for a few minutes, talking of dogs and kids and sporting competition in general.
Once finally in the store, we were warmly greeted by the cashier, a small woman with a big smile. We don’t often venture into tractor stores and were delighted to find a vast array of dog food, toys and treats along with all things animal. I loved the smell, like a very clean barn. We quickly found the birdseed in the middle of two rows of seeds and feeders of every size. Lee carried the twenty pound bag as we leisurely meandered down every row, unable to not look at everything. I stopped to take a picture of the baby ducks. They were real ducks by the way.
At least a dozen times, we were asked if we needed help. Each time, the clerk smiled and looked us in the eyes. When not offering to assist us, we could hear her talking with other customers. She was equally friendly, greeting human and dogs, who were obviously welcome there, alike. Finally, we checked out, reluctant to leave the store that had surprised us not only by all the unusual things they sold, but by the unusually friendly and welcoming manner we have been treated.
I tend to cringe when I see camo. It’s almost like seeing a Civil War confederate flag. I halfway expect the KKK to come from behind whoever it is, flying towards us on horseback in their white robes, torches in hand. Fortunately, I usually cringe for nothing. I certainly did last night.
I like to think that by our friendliness we penetrate stereotypical impressions. I like to think that by connecting with someone with a smile, we invite another to see us differently by seeing us the same, if even for a moment.
Last night, the friendliness of others invited me to see differently and penetrated my own stereotypical impressions.