I went to Target on December 24th. Yes, on Christmas Eve. But I am a Pro-cras-ti-nat-or, and so there you have it. After checking out, I noticed a nice looking young man emerging from an Employees Only room — and he was dressed like Santa Claus. Upon closer inspection, I recognized him (the employee, not Santa). I had interacted with him here before, during the summer (when he was not dressed like Mr. Claus). Actually, I began a post about him that I never finished — and I finally sat down today to revisit it. It’s Snow Day #2, after all, and something has to deviate me from the mayhem that these days bring.
When I began this post seven (!) months ago, I was still thinking about a recent blog I had written — about the lessons our children can teach us. Charlie had broken something, I had lost my cool, and so I wrote about it in Everything They Touch. And I was thinking about that lesson when I pulled into the Target parking lot that day in June…
I needed lightbulbs. It was only 9:20am, so Target was not yet buzzing–which means there was an open cashier waiting just for me.
He was all smiles, so friendly, and was totally stylin’ in a tweed newsboy cap. I liked this tall, dapper dude already and figured he might possibly have a lesson for me as well.
“Did you find everything okay?” he cheerfully asked.
(Actually I was shocked and proud of myself for literally walking away with what I came in for… nothing less, nothing more.)
He scanned the lightbulbs and rang up my whopping total.
“Grand total of $4.74! CONGRATULATIONS!” he said, laughing.
Then I laughed with him and let him know that this was definitely a first. I told him I had never bought only ONE thing at Target, and it was certainly the least expensive purchase I had ever made there. Chuckling, he said to me,
“Well, take a bow, m’am!”
I laughed as I pulled my card from my wallet. But then I hesitated for a moment, bent my knees, slipped my right leg behind my left, bent my torso, and …took a bow. Well, it was more like an awkward curtsy bow.
Well, this tickled him immensely. So he responded,
“You go, M’am! That’s right! We only live on this earth once. You just keep dancing on through it like that!”
Keep dancing on through it. How did he know that lately this is what I had said over and over to myself? And to my son, Charlie? Because that’s what we’re all just trying to do, is to keep dancing on through it. Despite whatever storms we face, we have to just keep dancing in the rain. What a breath of fresh air, this cashier. I am so glad his line was empty so that we could have that lighthearted exchange. Still laughing, I gathered my bag of lightbulbs and started to walk away. But then I turned around to check out his name tag. I wanted to know his name. CHARLIE. His name was Charlie. Why was I not surprised…
I wanted to turn back around and take a photo of Charlie so I could remember that smile and that fun moment, but that would be TOTALLY creepy, so I left. But I was still smiling, happy to be learning lessons from boys named Charlie.
Dance through it.
Use your position in life — whatever that may be —
to give people a reason to smile.
And when a kind cashier playfully tells you to take a bow, by all means, friends… take a bow.
So as I was driving back home, a motorcyclist sped by, grabbing my attention. He was wearing a helmet with fake mohawk hair coming out of the top, and fishing rods were sticking out of his back pack. He looked like quite a character, and I wondered what his story was. Then we stopped next to one another, and his feet caught my eye. He was wearing red Chucks. Of course he is, I thought. Red Chucks were Charlie Doyle’s trademark shoes a couple of years ago. (His love for Chucks lent the nickname Chuckdiculous — coupled with his name being Charlie and in homage to the ‘Russdiculous’ Russ Smith, one of our favorite college basketball players.)
Of course I didn’t strike up a conversation in traffic with the red Chucks dude, but seeing him made me smile — and think — everyone has a story to share and something to give, including Cashier Charlie and this mohawk-helmet-wearing, red-Chucked fisherman on a motorcycle. The question is: Are we listening? Are we paying attention? I often repeat, “Heaven sends us reminders,” and I really have started to intentionally look for them — sometimes just because it’s fun to see what message is right in front of our eyes, if only we will look closely enough.
And on that warm June morning, Cashier Charlie and Red Chuck Biker were two subtle reminders for me. Each in his own way told me to keep on dancing through life –never missing a reason to find joy in the littlest things — like red Chucks and Charlies.