A young woman at the doctor’s office treated me rudely the other day. The details aren’t important, but my reaction is. For a few minutes on an otherwise pleasant day, I allowed another person to define me. Then I realized that woman isn’t just rude to me; it’s the world she treats this way. In turn, she perpetuates her attitude because she gets back what she gives out. One day perhaps someone will assist her in turning it around. On the day I encountered her, it wasn’t me.
After I left the office, I decided not to let her darkness of soul become an imprint on me. Many more angels skip through my life and those are the ones I want to emulate. I moved to Pittsburgh two years ago not knowing anyone but my new husband. In that time, I’ve encountered more kindness than meanness.
First, there’s our neighbor Rich who magically appears in our driveway every time the snow covers the pavement. Sometimes I hear the putt-putt of his tractor before I realize snow has started to fall. I’ll look out the window and there’s Rich with his plow clearing our steep driveway. Then he leaves to do his own. Whenever we thank him, he humbly says, “I’m out there anyway.” I suspect he knows how difficult it’s been for me to adjust to the winters in Pennsylvania after thirty years of living in Florida.
Since I work at home, my main social activity is going to the gym to work out and take dance classes. The owners of Body Buzz, John and Carmella, and their staff pay it forward every single day by participating in a variety of local charitable projects. Right now, they’re stuffing stockings for the military with items donated by all the members. They are sponsors for the local chapter of ElderCare and many of us are adopting an older person for Christmas. Also, raffles and sales have been ongoing the past month for the family of a local state police officer killed in the line of duty. This type of work is not just for the holidays – it’s ongoing year round. They do many projects for the local Humane Society chapter as well. The spirit of the owners and employees multiplies out to the members who are kind souls not only keeping in shape but making our world a better place.
Then there’s the woman at Pennsylvania Macaroni Company in The Strip District in downtown Pittsburgh. I fell in love with shopping there in my first months of living here. But when I really knew this place captured my heart was my first encounter with Carol Pascuzzi at the cheese counter. Most people refer to her as “dear heart” because that’s what she calls everyone who steps up to her counter. I’ve always hated to be called “honey” and “sweetheart” by strangers because it seems so phoney. But “dear heart” from Carol as she hands me a slice of ten-year aged white cheddar cheese makes me smile.
I told her I wanted to write about her in this blog about nice folks in Pittsburgh. She said, “It’s simple really. I treat everyone as I want to be treated.”
It’s true, tested, and simple. She makes me strive to be a “dear heart.”
I need to introduce Carol to a certain doctor’s receptionist.
Who are the angels living lightly in your life and heart?