Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Gratitude Attitude

Husby and I have just spent the past five days with our middle son at his home in Courtenay, BC.
They have been days of long, long talks.
Walks on the beaches of Vancouver Island.
Hikes through thick, soft forests.
Soaks in the hot tub.
Meals at our favourite restaurant.
More talking.
It has been an all-to-brief dip in paradise.
We just finished lunch at a local fast-food restaurant on our way to the airport.
The food was very edible.
And prepared by someone other than us.
Which made it amazing.
My son thanked one of the servers on our way out.
It reminded me of something . . .
Admit it, you'd love for someone
to make this for you !
I'm weird.
I do weird things.
I've accepted it.
Moving on . . .
I had taken my three-year-old granddaughter to The Mall.
The big mall. The one that covers many city blocks and holds many, many stores and attractions.
And several thousand people.
It is bright. Entertaining. Noisy.
And, at times, crowded.
Kids love it there.
Parents tolerate it.
Older people ignore the enticement of 'modern shopping gone mad' and use it as an indoor track during the interminable Edmonton winter.
'People-dodging' has become an accepted, even sought for work-out.
With all these people and attractions vying (real word) for our attention, it is only understandable that some . . . gentility might get lost.
Let me explain . . .
My granddaughter and I were waiting for my son to finish an interview.
We were hungry.
The choices were, truly, endless.
She chose McDonald's.
We ordered from a smiling young man. Chicken pieces for her.
Salad for me.
We found a booth and started eating.
Now, I should point out here that, for the most part, I like McDonald's food.
Not gourmet, but tasty and satisfying.
Even with those expectations, my salad was a very pleasant surprise.
It was good.
Really good.
In fact, probably one of the best salads I had ever eaten.
Crisp where it should be crisp. Cheesy where it should be cheesy. Olive-y where it should . . . you get the picture.
I looked at the brightly illustrated billboard to recall what I had ordered.
Ah. Mediterranean salad.
I finished.
And licked the bowl.
Okay, not quite, but I have to admit that I was certainly tempted.
My granddaughter finished her meal.
"Come with me, Sweetie." I took her hand and walked back to the counter.
A young woman was standing there, smiling brightly.
I went up to her. "Hello. May I please speak to the manager?"
Her smile . . . dimmed somewhat.
"Umm . . . yes?" She started to slide down the counter away from me.
I followed. Finally, "Are you the manager?"
She nodded hesitantly, by now, her smile all but gone.
"Oh, good. Well I have to tell you that I just ordered your Mediterranean salad," I pointed, "and it is probably the best salad I've tasted in my life. Thank you."
She stared at me. Finally, my words must have sunk in, because, suddenly, her face lit up.
Really. With the biggest smile I had ever seen.
"Oh, thank you!" she said, rather breathlessly.
The boy who had served us our meal suddenly appeared from the 'food' part of the establishment, where it would seem he had been hiding, and presented me with an equally large smile.
"Thank you!" he said.
I smiled at them and left.
I have to tell you that this isn't an unusual thing for me to do.
It started when I saw the movie, "Heaven Can Wait", with Warren Beatty. In one scene, he gets up from the very formal meal, served by his army of servants, and pushing open the kitchen door, hollers, "Thanks for dinner!" or something like that.
Now I had been raised to always compliment and thank my mother, or whoever had prepared my food in ours or someone else's home. I had just never taken it to the next level.
Thanking and complimenting someone you haven't even met. 
Or seen.
After that movie, I decided to try it.
With amazing results.
I've now been doing it for years.
Almost without fail, I receive surprised, but enthusiastic smiles.
And gratitude.
It's a simple thing.
A smile, a compliment, and a thank you.
It might put some much-needed sunshine into someone's day.
I know it did that day, in that crowded mall.
Into mine.


  1. Oiling the gears that help society run ... such an easy thing to do, with such big dividends! Good on ya.

  2. I do that too! The surprised smiles on people's faces is so worth it. I've seen Heaven Can Wait, but not for many years and I don't recall that scene. I'll have to watch it again, it's a good movie.

    1. Loved that movie! So glad to meet someone who shares the same quirks, River! Keep up the good work! :)

  3. When you can raise a smile from someone it always makes you feel good.

  4. :-)

    As a person who needs to hear "thank you" every now and then, I fully support your weirdness, my friend!


    1. Here's to weirdness! And thank you! :)


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