Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The TV show Cheers was a hit with audiences not only because of its great writing and acting, but we were also attracted to the basic premise of the setting– a hang-out “where everybody knows your name”—and for a lot of us who don’t frequent a neighborhood bar, we secretly wished we could find that kind of camaraderie and familiarity someplace.  Or, at least live in a town where all the clerks know your name—like the town of Mayberry (from “The Andy Griffith Show”), another TV setting we Baby Boomers loved.  At least, I did.  Even though I was from a town of only 28,000, I always envied kids I knew from much smaller towns, and loved to visit them for a weekend.  You’d think that when I moved to friendly Texas, it wouldn’t be hard to experience a small town feeling no matter where I lived—but it really hasn’t happened for me.  Well, except for church.  Andy and I chose a small church so we wouldn’t feel like a number, and we haven’t been disappointed.  And, our kids did attend the smallest public elementary school in town—at times, there was only one class per grade! But Mayberry in suburban Dallas? I keep hoping to find it.

Maybe I haven’t yet because I’m more introverted than extroverted.  My Houston sister-in-law, who is one of the friendliest, most outgoing and nicest persons around, is known by all the clerks and stores that she frequents.  Clothing stores, restaurants…they know what she needs before she says a word. They know her name and she knows theirs.  And I’ll bet she knows if they have kids, and their kids’ names, too. 

Maybe I don’t feel that small town vibe around here because there’s nowhere that I frequent that much…well, I do go to the gas station every week, but I pump my own…I do go to the grocery store usually once or twice a day…but at Tom Thumb, there’s rarely the same checker each time, and now, to make things even more impersonal, they’ve added several self check-out stands.  At Sprouts…was that a glimmer of recognition I saw on a clerk’s face last week? Maybe, but…everywhere I go, I feel that everyone in line behind me is rushed and busy, like me, and they don’t want to wait any longer than they have to from people yakking…and so I usually opt for as few words as possible.

Which is why a highlight of our city’s recent music festival happened, for me, as Emmie, Andy, and I were walking out of the festival late last Saturday night—we were recognized by one of the managers of a local restaurant that I guess we really do frequent—Freebirds World Burrito.  “Hey!” he said, smiling, waving and walking over to us.  We waved, too.  “You know us!!!!” I said.  “You recognize us!” 
“Of course I do,” he said.  I almost kissed his feet.  I turned to Andy and said excitedly, “See, this means we’ve gone to Freebirds so much that he recognizes us—isn’t that cool?!!! WOW!!!!” Before I could do a Steve Martin happy dance, the manager said, “Well, I just want you to know that it’s been a pleasure rolling your burritos all these months.  My last day is tomorrow.”
WHAT? I finally find someone from a community business who knows us, and he’s LEAVING? 
“ I just finished college last week,” he said, “ and I’m going back home to live.” 

We wished him well.  Too bad we never knew his name, and he didn’t know ours, either…

One thought on “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

  1. Patricia,

    After living in Cuero (population 6000) for nearly 7 years now, I have adjusted but really do miss having unlimited dining options, shopping, culture, my old friends, we had a small town vibe in Richardson and I do miss it! Fortunately I do get out alot to the big city.


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