You Want Me to What??

I was attending a morning training meeting an hour away in Tampa, and asked the instructor to recommend a good place for lunch.

“You’ve got to try Moxie’s.”

The restaurant appeared clean and brightly painted, filled with the local business crowd on their lunch hour.  I joined the line at the order counter and scanned the menu on the wall – mostly sandwiches.  The gentleman taking orders, possibly the owner, had a playful tone with the customers.

“What’ll it be today?” he demanded with a smile.

“Well, this is my first time here, so give me a minute,” I shot back, matching his style.

His eyes lit up.

“First time here? All first-time customers have to sing a song!”

I’m sure my cheeks flushed.

“That’s right, everyone has to sing their first time here,”  confirmed a man behind me.

Now, I’ve sung many times in public, mostly in church, so his request wasn’t terribly scary for me.  Had it been my daughter, she would have found lunch elsewhere.  Too bad I didn’t have the guts (or voice) to quiet the room and belt out a Whitney Houston hit.  But the first thing that came to mind was a song that I had heard a retreat speaker sing.  He told of singing it to random store clerks and people who bagged his groceries.  I looked the owner in the eyes and began:

“Has anybody told you ‘I love you’ today?  Has anybody told you ‘I love you’ today? Has anybody told you ‘I love you’ today?  Let me be the first, put me on your list, I love you today.”

Now it was his turn to be embarrassed. “Okay, now what can I get you?”

“You did a good job,” exclaimed the man behind me. We chatted briefly as I waited for my food.

“I sang, I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts my first time here.  But what’s cool about this place… he’ll remember you next time you come in!”

I got my food and found a table where I could watch the order line.  No one else had to sing, but the happiness factor in this little restaurant was almost tangible.  The owner’s joyous spirit was visibly contagious.

I found myself wishing I didn’t live so far away.  I think this is a place I’d like to visit again.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Mary,
    Ok, this is great & I hate I missed it. Especially today while home recovering from surgery, vulnerable, and liking the sounds of this song! Pretty sad huh?

    I’ve always enjoyed your writing and applaud this venture. I look forward to reading all of it and bragging, ” I know her, She’s my friend.”

    A special lady you are!

    With love,



  2. Posted by Jenny on June 17, 2010 at 3:35 am

    YES! Loved this. Sounds like a New York story. Sooo Nora Ephron-y. 🙂


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