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Monday, April 21, 2008

Pillows, Toilet Paper and Huggin' in Wal-Mart

I was in Wal-Mart the other day with Holly. This little trip came at the end of the day, after we had been filming for Discovery Health Channel, and we found out that we had feather pillows on the couch. Yes, I know. Random find there, huh? Let me explain. I had been sneezing a lot during the day, sat on the couch, when something poked me. I pulled at it and a feather came out of the pillow behind me. Now, I had been told that those pillows contained "synthetic feathers." How does one go about making synthetic feathers? Good question. I have no idea. Anyway, I eyeballed this feather, and thought, "that looks pretty real to me!"

So, as the camera crew is packing up their gear - what am I doing? I'm taking all of the beautiful, satiny, covers off of the pillows and reading the tags. And I'm sure you've guessed it - they were all "real" feather pillows.

Side note: I tend to get "focused" on something and can't let it go. No comments from the peanut gallery, please.

This pillow episode, now had me distracted. I'm allergic to feathers, my husband is allergic to feathers, Josh and Kayla are allergic to feathers. (I don't think Holly is allergic to feathers, but four out of five is not a good statistic! Do you see how I got distracted?)

After 11 hours with a film crew, and completely exhausted, Holly and I took off for Wal-Mart. I knew we would have to give away the feather pillows, but now, there were no pillows for my massive couch. (And - we'd had so many people in the house that day, we were running desperately low on toilet paper. I know - you were waiting to see how I could possibly link feather pillows to toilet paper. Well, there you go.)

And so, there we were. In Wal-Mart. Late. On Friday night. We were relatively quiet (shocking, I know) as we picked out different patterns and shades of pillows to match my chocolatey brown, leather couch. As we headed the other direction for the toilet paper, Holly started to sing - getting quite a few stares from the other tired, late-night patrons. I picked up what we needed, and headed for the check-out. Holly needed to get some medicine, so I stood in line, trying not to think too much and tax my already tired brain.

I smiled at the lady in front of me and she said, "Those are beautiful pillows..." turning to her sister she said, "aren't those beautiful pillows? Oh, and feel the texture... those are SO soft...I just LOVE the colors you put together..."

Her southern accent rang out and I laughed and joined in the conversation. She looked at me and said, "Honey - you're from the south, too!" We hugged - (yes, hugged) - and no, we had never met before. That's a fun thing about us southerners, we tend to hug everybody and talk about everything - to anyone who will listen! :) Now, I know that is invading some people's "space" - and there are a lot of people who are not comfortable with that - but it sure was fun in Wal-Mart that night. We conversed about the pillows, cooking good ol' southern dishes, and then had a fascinating discussion about toilet paper. Yep, you heard me. Toilet paper.

Why am I telling you this story? (You're probably wondering if I even HAVE a point?) :) Well, the lady running the check-out lane next to us had looked unhappy when I first stopped in that line and started "making noise." She had obviously had a very long day, but I noticed she was listening to our crazy conversation. When I had moved up in line and was closer to her, she quickly turned around and said, "thanks for giving me a smile tonight!" Her comment was so brief that I didn't think a lot about it at the time, but just smiled in return. My cohorts and I continued to jabber in line, Holly joined us and we had our cashier laughing along with us by the time we left.

But since then, I have thought about her comment a lot. We all get so busy in our own lives, and our own stresses, that we don't think about the people around us and what they may be going through. Cultures are different all around this great country - and as we've moved around, I've noticed that a lot of people keep to themselves, because they don't know if it will be offensive to their neighbor to strike up a conversation or check on them if they haven't seen them in a while.

What this whole thing impressed upon me was that we need to reach out more. It doesn't matter where we're from, or what we were raised with. I think if we were all a little more friendly, there'd be more friendly responses. And you never know when someone might need a hug, or a smile.

It reminded me of our community and our Extreme Makeover experience. So many people reached out to us, that had never even met us. Yes, it was a TV show and a great way to rally a large group of people - but what an example it was - of people coming together to help "one of their own."

Now, if only we could figure out how to do that on a day-to-day basis. Can you imagine how we could change our world?

Maybe we could all start by smiling at one another, or not complaining in the line at the grocery store, not scowling at the person who cut us off on the interstate, or by simply loving one another.

Who knows? You might just be hugging someone in Wal-Mart next time I see you, or having a grand ol' time talking about toilet paper...

Personally, I like Charmin...