Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Bilyeu


A Saturday that’s worth singing about



I was sung to twice, on a recent Saturday. And not by my boyfriend, who used to play guitar in jazz and rock cover bands “back in the day,” as he phrases it.

We started our day at the Classic Cup in Sylvania. One of several waitresses who were very attentive to us brought our coffee.

But instead of just placing it in front of us, she sang to us that our glasses of water would be brought in just a moment by one of her co-workers. She was bright and cheerful even after a long morning filled with a lot of customers on a busy weekend. I’m not accustomed to being sung to at all, let alone at diners. A burger and a show, all for one price.

We later went to the grocery store. And No. 1 on my list was the new Oreo Thins — the ones with slimmer, crisper cookies and less fillling.

I like traditional Oreos, but the Double-Stuf ones have too much goop inthe middle. These newfangled ones — a far better idea than some of the flavors (ahem, watermelon) — were worth a try.

I finally found them, after having looked on previous occasions. I don’t know if the new cookies had been hiding there all along and I’d simply been oblivious or if they had just made their way to the shelf. Either way, one package of them was finally mine. Testing them could be considered a professional responsibility, after all.

I headed to the back of the store, where my significant other was picking up some of our prescription refills and chatting with the pharmacist about her husband’s recent health scare. She said her husband was feeling better since we’d last seen her. We were very glad to hear this.

I showed off the Oreos I’d finally found, and the pharmacist said she’d heard of them but hadn’t tried them yet. Well, why not have a tasting party at the counter? The good news about the pharmacist’s husband was a perfect reason to celebrate, right?

As we nibbled, we voted unanimously in favor of the new thin cookies.

After this, we meandered to the check-out counter where, once again, we were sung to. Twice in one day.

Our cashier was singing standards from my parents’ era, happy to be back at work after having been recuperating for several months. She had shoulder surgery, she said.

Really? This was my first significant excursion out after recently having should surgery too. We shared our stories and compared injuries.

She was singing, she said, because she was happy to be back, happy to be busy, happy to be chitchatting with customers again. She was very sweet, not just scanning groceries with her head down and counting each passing moment of a long shift with every beep of the machine.

The sum of our day’s experience, then, is that little niceties and unexpected surprises can make even the most mundane errands, or a quick stop for a bite to eat, more fun. I’m sure that singing and chatting made hectic, chaotic days go by more quickly, with less drudgery, for those who had to work on a sunny Saturday.

Our day became more about making friends and catching up on news than it was about picking up blood pressure pills or buying pantry supplies ... a lesson we should all remember.

Because if we were to smile at, chat with, share cookies with, or sing to waitstaff , to pharmacists, to cashiers — make an effort to really engage with everyone we encounter — just think how much more special we might make their otherwise routine day too.

Contact Mary Bilyeu at
 or 419-724-6155 or on Twitter @foodfloozie.

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