When my sons were very young, I occasionally went shopping at the local Stop and Shop late at night after they were sound asleep. One evening, with the store nearly deserted, I found myself grazing in the pasta section when a supple ladylike voice behind me exclaimed, “Excuse me, sir, I am just too little! Do you mind handing me a jar of marinara sauce on the top shelf?”
I immediately grabbed it, turned around and ended up giving it to a striking, middle-aged African-American woman. She smiled broadly, thanked me profusely, and then patted my hand.
“It’s my pleasure, Maam,” I replied.
Over the next few years, we began to converse when we bumped into one another at the market. The Greenwich, Connecticut Stop and Shop regularly played oldies during the evening hours, and one time when we were conversing, the old Supremes’ tune, “Stop! In the Name of Love!” came on.
“There you are!” I laughed.
“Oh, Shaun, I was so young back then!” Diana Ross professed as she waved goodbye to me.
On another occasion, Ms. Ross and I were reminiscing about an elderly teacher who worked at a local school for years and years before retiring. One summer afternoon, she ended up striking a conversation with him. While this gentleman knew the subject that he taught intimately, friends and colleagues also recognized that his knowledge of the greater society was practically nonexistent.
Because he was naturally engaging, the veteran instructor asked Diana, “So what do you do?”
She was so stunned – no one literally had asked her that in 25 years. She took a moment, pondered what to say, and then replied, “Well, I sing a little!”
He looked at Diana Ross and remarked amicably, “Well, I sing a little too!”
Only in Greenwich, Connecticut.