To be honest, I don’t really even know his name. But I know his face, his smile — our butcher. We see him weekly. He always seems happy to see us. Greets us with a joke, sometimes a few attempts in English. This is not common here in France. At no other store, grocery or bakery do we find this human connection. This exchange of, more than pleasantries, but joy!
Before we left for the US this time, we asked “Can we bring you something from America?” “Oh, no…” he blushed and smiled, and we knew right then that we would.
It cost almost nothing. In fact we had fun shopping for it — the right hat. A baseball cap that no one else in France would have. Yesterday we went to restock the refrigerator. I was excited. My heart was beating gerbil quick, as I reached the bag across the counter. He looked stunned. “Oui! Ou! Yes, it’s for you!” He couldn’t believe it. He peeked inside at the hat and in a language that can only be described as joy, he called over his coworkers to see. “They brought if from the US! For me!” None of us could stop smiling. He held his hand over his heart. He told other customers. The counter was covered in giggles.
We talked this morning over breakfast (my husband and I, not the butcher). What a gift this was! And I don’t mean the hat. I’m not even talking about our giving of it — the real gift was this exchange of joy. This moment of happiness. We gave it to each other.
Perhaps this is the best part of living — why we are here. To be kind. To notice people. To see them. To reach across every counter. Every wall. Every obstacle. And find a way to connect. Reaching out my hand today, I tell you, “Yes, Yes! It’s for you!”