Yesterday I was standing in line at my favourite thrift shop, waiting for it to open. Yes, this shop is so popular and the prices are so good that people line up to get in. See, the building can only hold 100 people at a time. It’s worth the wait because the merchandise has been hand picked for cleanliness and quality. It’s in a wealthy area so the donations are in great condition, brand names, and nothing short of spectacular.
Actually, standing in line is a social culture of sorts. There is an air of excitement of what treasures will be found when the doors open, and everyone chats about where they’re from, what they have found in the past and what they hope to find this time.
Dave and I were about 40th in line when a stylish, black, older woman cut the line a few people ahead of us. She was beautiful, greying hair smoothly styled to her shoulders, with a complimentary grey shawl draped over her red jacket, and the biggest smile imaginable. You couldn’t imagine why she would be standing in line at a thrift shop. She was just joining her friends who had held her place while she parked the car. But then one of them said to no one in particular, “We don’t know her.” And we all started laughing.
As the woman took her place, with a gracious smile she said, “I used to be rich.”
Looking at her with a different eye, the shoes, the clothes, the gracious air, made me think that yes, she probably was rich, once.
As I often do, I started to imagine what her story might have been. Divorce? Death of a spouse? Job loss? No one says, “I was rich once” unless there’s a whole story behind those words.