I make a trip once a week for an appointment in a small town about an hour away from home. Actually, I attended church in that town before I met Sweetheart and moved to Sunny Lane.
When my appointment is over, I take a short walk along the streets of the town for a little exercise. I usually stop at the one convenience store in town to get a cup of coffee on my way back to the car.
Well, the first day I had my appointment, as I was walking along, I passed a man on the street. He smiled and said good morning. I looked around, to see if he was addressing someone behind me, but there was no one there. So, I smiled and said good morning in return.
As I continued my walk, I pondered whether he was someone I once knew before I moved to Sunny Lane and no longer recognized. My mind came up blank.
And then I wondered if he mistook me for someone he knew. It would be easy to do. At any rate, I continued my walk uninterrupted and did not encounter anyone else on my little trek.
The next time I took my post-appointment walk, I came upon another person or two and they, also, smiled and said good morning. In fact, every time I walk through that little burgh and see someone on the street, he or she will inevitably acknowledge me.
It didn’t take long for me to become accustomed to being greeted. It appears that everyone there does it—except the owner of the convenience store. He comes from a foreign country, where this ritual is not practiced.
It seems that most towns and cities are like this foreign country. I tried this practice in my own downtown and was met with quizzical looks. In most cases I was ignored. Once in a while the person I greet will return the greeting.
I can’t say that I blame anyone for not wanting to speak to a stranger. Times have changed. If it was the custom in the past, it isn’t any longer.
I do get a warm, fuzzy feeling though, when someone extends that small gesture.
Oh, by the way. I don’t see reports of crime in that little neighborhood where I have my appointment. I wonder if there’s a connection.