Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day Twenty One

WEGO blogging prompt day twenty one: Write about someone that you admire.

One of the grocery stores that I frequent for the last fifteen years employs a cashier that I've always liked. She's a slim blonde woman that I'm guessing is age 60 or so.

I've always liked paying for my groceries in her line. She's remarkably adept at her job, scanning and bagging effortlessly, and knows the price of everything. EVERYTHING. Her smile is sincere - when she asks how my day is going, she genuinely seems to care about my answer.We never have had a lengthy conversation since she always has my purchases rung up and is handing me the receipt in a remarkably short period of time, but she seems to be the kind of person that I would like to know better. After all these years, she smiles in recognition when she sees me and we exchange small talk and pleasantries.

Over the past month, she's become even more thin. And though her hands still move quickly and her smile is still genuine, her skin has taken on a different quality - more pale and almost translucent. She's now wearing a cotton bonnet that I recognize as being a chemotherapy hat.

I chose to write about this woman today not because she is continuing to work through an illness, but because from what I've observed, the qualities that make her a genuinely nice person have not been changed by that illness. She continues to be who she is in spite of what seem to be significant medical challenges. She's persevering not only in her job, but in the preservation of her identity and character.

The next time I see her, I'm going to talk to her. Really talk to her. And even though there may be others in line behind me, I want to tell her that I appreciate the person that she is.


annie said...

This puts things in perspective for me. As horrible as our illness is,and as difficult as our days are, we are not going through cancer treatment. Even though someone is doing a great job, and knows it, it is a wonderful feeling to be validated by someone else. I wish her well. You're a great person, Julia.

Rachel said...

Wow. I've noticed long-time grocery employees go through changes, but nothing like that. Yes, please talk with her, I bet she needs some kind words.

Lisa said...

I am swallowing a choking feeling and blinking through tears. Chemotherapy is a sledgehammer that crushes everything, but the worst thing that it crushes is the ability of everyone else to see you as a person who is still living their life. That you saw this in her is exceptional. I know this first hand. Thank you for your insight. Please do talk to her.