Angels Live Lightly

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

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.

dear heart

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?

Published by P. C. Zick

I write. It's as simple and as complicated as that. Storytelling creates our cultural legacy.

21 thoughts on “Angels Live Lightly

  1. It makes me think of the Holstee Manifesto which I read every day because it’s my screen saver. So make sure in your busy day to remember the true purpose and the reasons you do what you do.


  2. I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, so I apologize if it’s a repeat. But I recently attended a conference where they said love is a manifestation of who you are, and not a relationship. Love does occur in relationships, but it’s not because of the relationship that it happens. You can love people who hate you or whom you’ve never met. I mention this because I liked how you said, “I decided not to let her darkness of soul become an imprint on me.” Exactly right. Darkness may hate the light, but that doesn’t mean the light needs to grow any dimmer because of the darkness. Whenever we’re able to perfect our own love, we’ll shine so brightly the darkness in them will struggle to remain and maybe we can help them back into the light—but it always remains their choice of course.

    Thanks for this, I feel a bit more inspired for the day. 🙂


    1. I’m happy for that, Jae. A friend once taught me that the love we send out is like a circle: we send it out into the world and it multiplies and then comes back to us a million fold. But we have to send it out first.


  3. I find the people who work at my local Meijer supermarket to be very polite and very helpful. I have tried many of the other supermarkets over the 15 years that I’ve frequented Meijer but none of them compare. The workers all know me now by sight. Since I participate in Meijer’s online surveys, they send me surveys once in a while (which I normally wouldn’t do for anybody!) but don’t mind it for them. Recently, I was awarded a $5.00 card to use at their store just for doing their survey. It was a nice surprise because money was never a consideration in these surveys. I’m flat honest in them and if I encounter a worker who had an “off” day, I’ll comment about it. But I’ll add that the worker was probably having an “off” day (because I would hate for anyone to get fired due to my comment!) It’s rare that I have a complaint. It’s gotten to the point (lol) that I feel like I’m a part of the staff there! Sometimes I help other customers out, like if they’re looking for a certain type of cheese. (I know where all the cheeses are.) Or, if someone can’t reach a top shelf, I’ll get the item for them. I know a few of them by name. They probably think of me as the only customer who buys that “funny” vegetable, Escarole because they can never find it on their computer! I help them out with that. Sometimes I think they stock it just for me! LOL! And they get some gorgeous heads, gorgeous! It’s unfortunate that the doctor’s receptionist treated you that way. I’ve run into that too at doctor’s offices. Some doctor’s are not easy to work for. Some doctor’s receptionists don’t seem to know what they’re doing! You wonder how they got hired! I switch doctors when that happens. When I’m at the doctor’s office I’m usually not feeling well or I’m anxious about being there. The people on staff there should be well aware of that and not be adding to your current state!


    1. You must be from Michigan! Or has Meijer’s expanded. Actually, I was at the doctor’s to get my husband’s final prescription filled (it’s supposed to be done online but the doctor’s office failed to respond to Express Scripts so I had to go there). And when I finished with the business, I handed her the papers for faxing our medical records to our new doctor. This was not the first time we’d been treated rudely and it wasn’t the first time they’d failed to follow through on the prescription. She was even ruder when I gave her the papers but then the records woman came over and handled it and she was very nice. It all evens out.


      1. This Meijer is in Indiana. They may have expanded, I don’t know. The store is equivalent to a Walmart, they carry everything! They’re opening up a Vision store to replace the Gold exchange store within their store that didn’t do very well. They’ve got an Eyebrow store and an Olin Mills Studio too. These places are just one room inside Meijer. I think the Vision store will do well.


  4. Everytime I read your blog you make me so homesick. I miss the people in Pennsylvania so much. Sure, there are the few rude ones like the lady at your doctor’s office (I have to think she’s not a native Pittsburgher), but most of the people are wonderful. I’ve moved four times since leaving PA and I’ve never found anyplace that compares. (And don’t get me started on the shopping! I miss Dear Heart!) But I digress…

    Regardless of where you are, you have a point. You reap what you sow. My dad always snow blows or plows the whole block when it snows. A lot of the people are elderly and couldn’t clear the snow if they wanted to. He’s 71 but is in relatively good health. He figures he’s out there anyway, what’s a few more walks? That’s how we were raised… to take care of each other. I wish I saw more of that where I live now. The world would be a better place.


    1. Staci, I agree. It makes life so much easier. BTW – the woman in the doctor’s – she was wearing a Steelers shirt (so was I as it was the Friday before a game). That made it worse. I do love my new city so much. What’s not to love, right?


      1. I’m sticking to my original thought… It was probably “Wear Steelers Clothes” day, so, transplant or not, that was the uniform for the day. She’s a transplant. (She’s probably a Ravens fan.) And I agree, what’s not to love? Pittsburgh is the best city. Everytime we go home and go through the Ft. Pitt Tunnel, when we hit the bridge and see the city spread out before us, there’s a collective sigh from the four of us in the car. There are so many wonderful things to mention, I wouldn’t know where to start.

        Yep. Definitely homesick.


      2. I love the Fort Pitt tunnel entrance to the city. I never tire of it and it’s the first place I bring our visitors. Be sure to let me know next time you’re in town.


  5. My husband grew up in Pittsburgh. For the past few years, we have been visiting at New Year’s – his best friend from college lives there. Every time we go, we make a pilgrimage to PennMac, mostly for the cheese but also for Dear Heart.

    Our friend’s father died a few years ago – and I believe “Dear Heart” was discussed if not at his memorial service then at the dinner after!

    Nice people have an impact on other lives that they can never imagine. When I think about things about myself I would change, my first thought is usually my weight, but then I think, “It’s far more important to be a nice person than a thin one.” I want to be as nice as Dear Heart.


    1. Rosalie, It’s so true. I have to work hard to remember the good ones. I had a recent experience in the hospital with one night nurse that shook me up. But I had to keep telling myself I had five other nurses who were absolute angels.


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