The Man on the Bench


This is my Slice of Life Story this week. Share yours at Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday!

There is a bench near the checkout lanes at our local grocery store.  Maddie and Katie like to sit on the bench and wait while I pay for our groceries each week.  The bench is far enough away from the registers that they feel independent, yet close enough that I can still see them.  They’ll sit and wait for me to pay, and then I’ll chugga chugga choo choo towards them calling “All aboard!”  Suddenly, the bench turns into a train station and I am the conductor.  Maddie and Katie hop on my train and off we go to load the groceries in the car.

This weekend it was just Katie and I at the grocery store.  Maddie had stayed home with Dad to help with a home improvement project.  Like always, when we approached the checkout lanes Katie asked, “Mommy, can I go sit on the bench?”

I kept a close eye on Katie as I paid for the groceries and waited for the bagger to finish. I noticed an elderly man sitting on the bench wearing a blue cap emboldened with NAVY across the front.  Katie plopped down next to him, her little legs swinging in the empty space below the bench.

I handed the cashier my coupons, my eyes still on Katie and the man.  They were talking. Katie’s face held a mischievous smile and the man seemed to be laughing.  Katie, typically shy among strangers, was animated and expressive.  The man seemed amused. After a few minutes, I thanked the bagger and walked towards the bench.  What could this three year old girl with a purple coat have to say to an old veteran sitting on a grocery store bench?

I guess I will never know because as I approached the bench, Katie stood and grabbed my hand.  “Bye bye,” she said to the man with a wave of her fingers.

“Good-bye, young lady,” he answered, giving me a smile.

As the cold air blew against our faces in the parking lot, I wanted to ask Katie about her conversation, but I didn’t.  For some reason, I felt like it belonged to Katie.  To Katie and the man on the bench.


See them sitting on the bench?


17 thoughts on “The Man on the Bench

  1. Such a lovely slice, Dana and bravo to you for allowing your daughter her independence even though I think I couldn’t resist hearing about their conversation. What a wonderful way for me to begin my reading of today’s slices,

  2. I agree. Letting your daughter keep some moments for her is very important. That was a nice story to read first thing after waking up.

    I am curious what they talked about now, though!!! Ha ha 😉

  3. You are a stronger person than I. I’d have asked what they talked about.

    When I was younger, living and traveling in South America, I loved going to the park in whatever city I was visiting and striking up a conversation with an old man sitting alone in a park. every park has them. They don’t all want to talk, but the ones that do are treasures.

  4. I, too, would have had a hard time not asking what they were talking about. Good for you for realizing that this was Katie’s moment and she will share when she is ready and wants to.

  5. Wonderful that you allowed her that independence. In this day and age I think some moms would have swooped her up, fearful and worried. I’m sure it made that gentleman’s day, too. Thanks for sharing! Please let us know if she ever reveals the conversation.

  6. I just bet your daughter made his day! I know I always enjoy conversations with senior citizens . . . sometimes they have so much to say! Kind of cool you didn’t ask her about the conversation!

  7. I agree – I bet he went home and talked about the lovely chat he had with a young lady. I have to admit I would have asked her but I love that you did not. How great to give her that bit of independence at a young age. Lovely!

  8. Dana, your stories remind me to look at those small moments anew and with different eyes! How lucky Katie & Maddie are that they will have the stories in written form. You will too. Because if you don’t write it down and you blink, those two girls will be grown up and gone! Thank you for sharing!

  9. I wish that I could be more like that. I would have never thought about not to ask my child about their talk. But leaving kids with a sense of being able to talk to an adult and what they had to say matters to an adult, is so amazing.

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