Commentary

Places to Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By DOTTY CRONAN | Dec 13, 2017

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came —“Cheers” theme song.

Thankfully, my husband and I have many places that help us make our way in today’s world, from church to local stores, and our close facsimile to “Cheers,” our local Elks lodge. Only instead of being greeted with a loud chorus of “Norm!” we’re greeted with a glad-you-came “Hi, Carl,” “Hi, Dot.” While Norm got to escape his worries on “Cheers” for only 11 years (1982-1993), we’ve been “taking a break” at the Elks for two decades. During the first few years, our breaks usually took place on Friday nights with the rest of the stressed-out work crowd.

Since retirement and fewer “worries,” the need for happy hours has trickled down to an occasional lunch or afternoon drink. But even at these off hours with fewer people to greet us, they still know our names and are glad we came. And so are we. We are proud to be part of an organization that puts so much effort into improving the lives of veterans, handicapped kids and those in need of scholarships.    

Since Nov. 25 was Small Business Day, I can’t help but think of a local business where everybody knows my name, Lacey Pet Shop. Since we first moved to Forked River, over 20 years ago, I have been greeted by owners Rose and Terry and long-time employees Linda and Jamie with a glad-you-came “Hi, Dot,” no matter how busy they are. Whether my purchase is a $1.50 bag of live crickets for my baby turtles or the 55-gallon tank they eventually needed, the greeting is always cheerful and the shop is a great place to take a break.

“How was your vacation in San Fran last week? How is your beautiful grandson Raymond? Got a recent picture?” are examples of Terry’s recent greetings. Rose often asks about the GloFish she sold me three years ago – two at a time – over a one-month period. Opposed to pet shops that will gladly overpopulate your aquarium, Rose advised me to go slow. She wanted me to have a successful venture. Since my beautiful GloFish have tripled in size and continue to mesmerize me with their rainbow of vibrant greens, yellows and blues, I’d say my GloFish experience is a great success, thanks to Rose. 

My guppies are popping babies faster than Orville Redenbacher pops corn, and gobbling up their fry faster than movie-goers pop popcorn. The 12 babies I rescued to a smaller tank are starting to display their array of colors at five weeks. The pleasure I reap from my thriving aquarium hobby is due to the healthy stock from crystal clear tanks, and the sound advice and products recommended by the gals at Lacey Pet.

My last, but most definitely not least, recommended place to go for help making your way in today’s troubled world is a place of worship, your choice in this home of the free and the brave. They will be glad you came and you will be glad you went.  

“You wanna go where people know, people are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.” That would be our church community. Everyone there knows that people are all the same in the eyes of God. Attempts are made to love and care for all through many parish-wide and world-wide organizations and individual outreach to neighbors and strangers.

I can’t vouch for everyone in our large parish knowing our names, but those involved in Ken’s Kitchen at St. Mary of the Pines sure know Carl’s name and his dedication to this worthy cause. The same goes for me and my dedication to Living Waters Prayer Group every Thursday night. And when I can’t make it due to illness, I can count on cheerful, prayerful calls and texts from my brothers and sisters.

I surely hope and pray that each and every one of you has a place to practice your faith. Oh, how I wish my Office program had emojis; I can think of so many halo-wearing angels, smiley faces and prayerful hands I’d love to send your way. Guess I’ll have to settle for this old guy :).

My hope for you is that you have many places that help you make your way in today’s stressful world. May we all have a place to relax with friends, a cold one and a hamburger. May we all continue to have our favorite local businesses, owned by local people with the same regional concerns as us. If there is any doubt in your mind about the need to support local establishments, read The Store by James Paterson. Yikes! Believe me, you will go running to every small store you know with your holiday shopping lists.

Dotty Cronan lives in Forked River, N.J.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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