Thursday, December 03, 2009

Regulars Rule.

One of the coolest parts of owning a small local biz is getting to know the ‘regulars’. Regulars come in many shapes and forms. There’s the one who comes in, without fail, every Sunday afternoon, for his weekly quart of cookie dough. Another brings his wife in a couple times a week. Each order up a large dish of their favorite, and the two of them sit and chat for an hour with the crew and me. It’s fun getting to know customers. Eventually, their visits start to feel like friends stopping by to say hello.

Sometimes, regulars stop becoming regulars. This is often triggered by a need to drop a few pounds, get control over some lactose-intolerance issue, swearing off sweets as a sacrifice for Lent, or just the busy-ness of life getting in the way. Then there are the seasonal regulars too. These are the folks that mysteriously lose their cravings for ice cream when the leaves come off the trees and the mittens go on the hands. Luckily, there are still quite a few year-round regulars.

I look forward to my weekly Sunday visit from a nice, older gentleman known best around town for his love of the Yankees. It doesn’t matter if it’s the dead of winter, and all his beloved Yanks are swinging golf clubs in lower latitudes. He just loves to talk Yankees, especially to a Red Sox fan this year.

Another regular whose visits I always enjoy is an equally nice older woman. She always has a smile on her face. ‘How’s it going today?’ I most often say. ‘Oh, pretty good,’ is her usual response. While she sits and leisurely enjoys her ice cream, she tells me about the exciting things she’s been doing. For a while, it was downhill skiing. Before that, it was sailing. I would occasionally bump into her at the gym I used to belong to, where she’d be lifting weights with a trainer. Most days she comes to the shop, we simply exchange pleasantries, she goes on to enjoy her ice cream, occasionally buying something to bring home, and is on her way. She’s always remarkably upbeat and cheerful. Oh, and did I also mention she’s a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down? Forced to endure the worst the disease Multiple Sclerosis has to offer. I don’t know much more about her life than she’s told while her assistant fed her a dish of her favorite ice cream, but from my view, she battled MS courageously for 30 years, never letting it prevent her from doing the things she wanted to do. I say ‘battled’ because her sister, another regular, came in yesterday and shared with me the sad news that she had passed away over the weekend, at the age of 62. A nice woman dealt a really crappy hand, in the form of the crippling wrath of MS, who despite the challenges, chose to play that hand the best she could. Thanks Nancy, for the weekly dose of inspiration.

May you rest in peace, or run again like the wind, whichever you prefer.

Nancy Minton

2 comments: said...

Wonderful to see your tribute to Nancy Minton. I'm happy to say over the past 15 years she was active in outdoor recreation programs for people with disabilities in the state park system - most notibly rowing on the Connecticut River and bicycling on the rail trail. With assistance, support, and adaptive equipment, she was able to enjoy cycling and the river, even if she herself could not paddle or pedal. She really did play her hand to the utmost. One of my favorite memories of her was on a day long canoe trip with DCR down the Connecticut River from Elwell to Easthampton. She wore a hat with a battery-powered spray mister and her usual positive attitude. It was a long hot day and she was exhausted at the end of it, but afterwards so happy with her accomplishment of being out there on the river. Nancy will continue to be an inspiration and a "regular" in my mind for a long time.

Laura said...

Regarding the tributes to Nancy Minton, I am very grateful to all who have been a part of my mother's life. I've always known her inspiring nature, however by reading these blogs, it confirms that she did touch many people's hearts and was a true inspiration. We all are very blessed to have had her be a part of our lives for as long as we did.

Continue on your journey, Mom, Running with the Wind...

Until we meet again... with much Love, Inspiration, and many happy Memories...