By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin
“Cheers” was an amazing American sitcom that was on television from 1982 to 1993. The show was about a bar, called Cheers, where a group of locals met to drink and hang out. It was the kind of bar where, “Everybody knows your name”.
There are wonder places like this in every city and town. There are also unique places and spaces which hold a “beautiful spirit”. Places that go beyond knowing your name. More like places which clearly understand your soul and being.
Once a month or so, I go to a hair salon called Le Colorbox. When I enter this place, I feel like I am in an oasis. I’ve escaped the urban jungle and entered an igloo of peace and serenity. Not only does everyone there know my name there, they know my children’s names, they know my being. They really get me.
I’m met with a grand “Hello Sue!” and off I go to do my thing. Two minutes in and I have a green tea served to me. If I didn’t speak a word during the entire time I was there, all the services I would seek would be met perfectly without communicating. It’s automatic love. The staff just knows what I like, how I like it, and how to make me feel special.
I’m able to compose in this spiritual environment. I’ve fallen asleep there. I’ve detached and replenished myself at Le Colorbox. I’m at peace and surrounded by wonderful and beautiful people. This is my beautiful “Cheers”.
There are many other spiritually unique oases in the city. One of my family’s favorite is “Sport Au Gus”. This store specializes in hockey everything. It’s more than a store, it’s a hockey shrine! My husband and sons LOVE to go there. Not just for the equipment, or the skate sharpening, but for the banter. The hockey talk, shop talk, les Canadiens talk, a Habs famiglia!
Other big box sports equipment stores might offer more selection and other perks, but there’s nothing like this hockey oasis shop. It even smells of fresh hockey equipment and musk.
When I walk in, I get a huge greeting and announcement. “The Chief of the Litwin Family has arrived!” This puts a huge smile on my face. My family visits this store a few times each month. The staff prides themselves in being consistently good at sharpening skates. Doug states, “When sharpening skates, it’s all about the feel.” They know their customer, their equipment, their sport, the teams, and hockey everything! It’s a Mecca for hockey lovers. A spiritual hockey oasis within an urban jungle. This is our sporty “Cheers”.
My brother and I frequent the restaurant Snowdon Deli about twice a month. This is where we go to catch up, get goofy and download on each other.
My brother and I don’t need to tell the waitress what we want to eat. As soon as we sit down, I am served a tea and our food order is already in development. However, the waitress cordially asks if there are any changes to be made to our regular order before it is fully prepared. We would definitely consider this restaurant our eating “Cheers”.
Does everyone know our name there? For sure they do and the names of everyone in our family. Do we eat like royalty? Most definitely. This is our spiritual eating oasis. To be together, eating at this deli and being surrounded by people who care and love us is priceless. However, in actuality, it is not priceless!
All these places are businesses and require commerce.
There is something to be said about these little special oases in our life. There is a unique spirituality which exists. A feeling of home, love, warmth, comfort, and knowing. To spend time in these places with the people who own these establishments never really feels like an aspect of commerce. Even though, it is primarily about commerce. These are stores and restaurants which require sales in order to be.
Being there goes way beyond commerce for me. Sometimes, I don’t even realize that’s the raison d’être for being there in the first place. I come for the people; I invest in their business as they have invested in my family and me. Is it a form of family? I believe it is a spiritually beautiful oasis of family.
Do you have a spiritual oasis in your life? A place where everyone knows your name?
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.