This is a guest post by Jane Knuth.
When I was about 13, on a road trip with my dad, we exited off the freeway to look for lunch in a small town. When we pulled up at a diner, dad vetoed the place before we got out of the car. He based his decision on the sign in the window that read: “Tables for Ladies.”
I was confused about this, but all he would say was, “If they have to put a sign in the window, then they don’t get many ladies in there.”
I was reminded of this recently while accompanying my husband to a pub where he was playing a whistle with a Celtic session group. The other customers in the place were either knitting near the window or sipping beer at the bar. I was a bit hungry so I looked at the blackboard and ordered the only non-alcoholic item, white chicken chili.
The bartender looked at me and seemed caught off-guard. “I’m guessing you’ll want a spoon—but don’t worry, I’ll find one.”
Last week at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store where I volunteer, two homeless women were shopping when I overheard this conversation:
Lady #1: “We have to leave, because I need to use a restroom.”
Lady #2: “They’ll let you use the one here. Just ask.”
Lady #1: “Hm. Maybe I will, but…what’s it like?”
Lady #2: “Don’t worry—it’s fine. Cleaner than most.”
My dad would approve.
Jane Knuth is the author of Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25¢ at a Time and the upcoming Thrift Store Graces: Finding God’s Gifts in the Midst of the Mess. She has been volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for the last 15 years.