LINDA JOAN SIDDERS, 52, of Lawrenceville died Saturday (11/11/2006). The body was cremated. No service is planned; Tim Stewart Funeral Home, Lawrenceville.On my trips to work I sometimes would take occasion to stop at a Kroger along the way to pick up some things for breaks or lunch. I've been doing this for years and at one point I began to encounter a Kroger front-end supervisor with a pleasing disposition who helped me at the self-serve checkouts. She began to recognize me and would call me "hun" as people in the South are wont to do. I knew her name from her name tag but don't ever remember introducing myself. Her bright smile and cheerful attitude distinguished her from the ranks of her fellow associates and her demeanor seemed to brighten the store. Most of the time, as I'm accustomed to do with any of my shopping, I simply found what I wanted, paid and left. But there were times she'd bend my ear to talk about her husband, who worked in that store as well, or some other small talk of the day.
I'm not much into small talk. I'm not much into talk at all. I don't like being on the phone and prefer to communicate by e-mail or other impersonal means. Conversation requires interaction, giving attention, really considering what the other person is talking about. There are times when I'm genuinely interested in the other person and there are times when I'm interested but trying not to be. Sometimes it's hard for me to know how far someone else will allow me into their life or how far I should go.
I didn't know much about Joan Sidders. She seemed to like working at Kroger; enjoying the company of customers and fellow employees alike. Most working stiffs are always looking for more money, going from job to job, but maybe she found there a kind of satisfaction in the relationships worth more than the money. I didn't know anything of her take on God or spirituality. It's one of those areas that's sometimes the hardest to get to know about someone. Now that I think back on it, I don't know but that I may have been impressed to speak with her about Jesus, but I guess the circumstances just didn't seem right at the time. In any event, I didn't and I regret it, if only because I suspected that there may have been the harmony of Christ between us as evidenced by her infectiously enjoyable personality.
And so as I entered the store this morning on my way to work I found a large poster near the front door with her picture on it and a blurb about a memorial for her this Saturday at the store. The notice of her passing caught me off-guard. She was a familiar face I'll miss and the strange thing is that I can't adequately explain it. She wasn't a relative and there was no special friendship or relationship, but the tie that bound was humanity. I guess it just causes me to think about the people I come in contact with, even the incidental grocery store clerk. Who do I know and how do I really know someone? I'll take another opportunity, in passing.