Linda is leaving town!!  I was so sad to get the news this morning.  Apparently, she and her husband are moving to Huntsville to be closer to their granddaughter.  To be honest, I didn’t know she had a granddaughter, or a husband for that matter.  And until today, I didn’t know her name was Linda.

Linda works at the drive thru window and McDonalds.  Since before Covid, she has been faithfully giving me my coffee almost every morning.  Sometimes, if the line-up behind me is long, she gives me my cup  with a quick smile and a “good morning”, other times we linger and chat for a few moments. We talk about the weather, or the cost of food, or the frustrating amount of construction in Barrie.  If I’m wearing a suit, she will ask me what the occasion is.  I usually say, “it’s a work thing” because I’ve discovered that saying, “I’m doing a funeral” is a conversation killer.

When I think about it, Linda has been the first person I have spoken to almost every morning for the past three years. She had become a significant part of my day without me even knowing it.

My guess is that you have a Linda in your life, someone who you may know little about, but who makes your day brighter just by their familiarity.  Maybe it is someone who walks their dog every morning at the same time you do, a server at a restaurant who remembers the way you like your eggs, or a clerk at a store who always smiles and calls you by name.  Life is filled with passing interactions with others whose significance may not become apparent until they are no longer there.  But each one in their own way, makes us feel a little more connected, a little more content.

The writer Donald Clifton once said, “our lives are shaped by our interactions with others.  Whether we have a long conversation with a friend or simply place an order at a restaurant, every interaction makes a difference.”

The line-up at the drive thru was long this morning, and I was aware of the pressure to be quick, but I had to ask Linda one last question, “what is your name?”  She laughed, “Linda”, she said, “and what is yours?”.  I answered, “it’s Phil”.  Her last words to me were, “I will miss you Phil”.

Tomorrow there will be someone else handing me my coffee. He or she will have big shoes to fill!!