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Sunday, August 5, 2012

It IS a Wonderful Life

A couple of Saturdays ago, I got into line at the bank.  It was the end of the banking day, there was one teller, and the line was long.  I had just finished my first week at my new job, so I spent my time in line making a mental gratitude list of all the things I loved about it. Somewhere during my meditation, an elderly man must have gotten behind me in line, and he interrupted me with a greeting.  We exchanged pleasantries, and then he asked me,  "When's your birthday?"

When I hesitated, the gentleman offered, "Mine is August 7."

Astounded at the coincidence, I laughed and retorted, "Are you an angel?  My birthday is August 7!"

He smiled an almost innocent smile and continued his good-natured interrogation of me.  "What's your name?"

"Mary," I answered, and added, "and yours must be Clarence!"

No, his name wasn't Clarence, but he told me what it was.  Then he said that he liked to sing "Happy Birthday."

By this time I was at the teller window and a little hesitant to encourage him.  But he presented his credentials:  he had sung "Happy Birthday" to another woman in line once, and her birthday wasn't until December.  He had also sung "Happy Birthday" to the tellers at the bank. With such a resume, he was impossible to resist.

So, after he completed his transaction (he needed change for a $20 bill and when the teller asked him how he wanted it, he was clever enough to respond, "All fifties or hundreds will be fine"), I acquiesed to be serenaded.  With one qualification:  after he sang "Happy Birthday" to me, I must sing "Happy Birthday" to him. So he sang, and I sang, in the bank, in front of everybody, on a crowded Saturday afternoon.  The people in line behind us listened with confused amusement.  Then, I gave the gentleman a hug and went on my way.

Was it just a coincidence that my very own Clarence appeared to sing "Happy Birthday" just moments after I'd been so thankful for the life I'd been given?  Or was the gentleman merely a resident of one of the nearby senior citizen communities?  I'm not sure it matters.

Still, as I got into my car and drove away, I was certain I heard a bell ring.

Photo courtesy of


  1. Kathy WolperAugust 05, 2012

    HaHa! I love it! This area is full of singing (and dancing) fools! :-) How about the dancing guy near my house? But, I like YOUR story so much better. Imagine how astounded you'd have been if his name WAS Clarence...

    Oh, and Hippo Birdie Two Ewes! :-D

  2. Mary, reading this is such a nice, upliftling way to start my day. i hope when I end my job to "retire" in a few weeks and start anew, I am blessed to be as open to angels and as grateful as you.

  3. Thanks, Mary. Great gratitude reminder. Very sweet.

  4. Mary, Belated happy birthday and thanks for this post. It was magical. I think you live a charmed life, with your red Pomeranians and now this story. I can just imagine the scene in the bank. I bet the other patrons left with a smile that day too.