Saturday, December 8, 2012

Keeping an Open Mind

I have been busy absorbing this new place I call home. I have had many experiences and not much time to actually write about them. Here’s one I’d really like to share.

I have been visiting this region for the past 25 years and have owned a house here for seven years. During that time, I have mostly interacted with locals through the hardware stores, grocery stores, and fast food lines. In the process, I formed the opinion that people around here aren’t very friendly. In the very places where I would expect a smile and friendly greeting in the Northwest, I was not greeted at all and rarely even given a smile.

Honestly, it’s one reason I didn’t want to move here.

Now I am working full-time at the local hospital and part-time at the winery. I have found that I misjudged people. It may be that people in minimum wage jobs are unhappy and lack the people skills that are necessary to survive elsewhere. But it’s also true that the professionals I work with at the hospital are a great group of people. They are intelligent, friendly, and fun to be with.

When I’m at the winery, I make a point to welcome each guest when they walk through the door. I always smile. These people show up expecting to taste some wine and leave feeling like they have just had a fun experience. That’s my goal. I want everyone to feel like they are welcome and comfortable in our tasting room. In the process, the customers tend to return the friendliness and share a bit of themselves. It is really fun to hear about people from near and far, their connection to wine (or lack thereof), and how they ended up in our winery.

I look forward to more interactions with the people here as I settle in. I have barely scratched the surface of the quilting scene. Someone asked me which guild I had joined. Though I haven’t joined any, the message was clear that I have several to choose from. I’m not currently involved in education, but we are hoping to move our son here next year. That will also open some doors and enlighten me. I will now know to walk through those doors with an open heart ready to receive new friends and ideas.

Thank you, Southern Maryland, for showing me you are more than I thought. In return, I hope I can live up to your expectations of me.