There is so much uncertainty in our world right now it makes me feel anxious. We have moved through two seasons in this time of quarantine and social distancing. Our family is ready to get out and start living in our community again.

Our kids drug out last year’s warm-weather clothes as the days have gotten warmer. They have been eating what often feels like five meals a day. They have hit growth spurts. Last summer’s shorts were way too short for my preference.

I loaded up my children and took them into town to look for some summer clothes. As we stepped into one of local department stores, the first thing everyone needed to do was use the restroom. We stopped so everyone could take care of their business before shopping.

We browsed the aisles in the boys’ and girls’ section. A person working at the store stopped me with my cart to inform me their dressing rooms were not available. I could not hide my facial expression. First, I would not have loaded up ALL four kids to go into a store if I had known this information. Second, I had just let all four of them use the PUBLIC restroom in said store with no consequences. I responded with, “Are you serious? We can use the bathroom here (and it obviously wasn’t getting wiped down after each use), but we cannot use a dressing room?” She told me I was correct. Puzzled, I continued shopping.

My kids are short and skinny and the reason I traipsed through the store with them was so we could make sure everything fit. I let myself stew about this dilemma before formulating my solution. I really didn’t want to drive all the way back home to try stuff on only to return half of it later.

I got in a check out line. We had to wait for one of the cashiers to come open it up. I was not about to plow through the self-check-out kiosk mostly on the principle that I did not work there. I bought every single thing in my cart. The friendly cashier sacked it all up for us. I then proceeded to take my kids back into the public restroom at the store and let them try on the clothes we had picked out together. What did not fit, they chucked over the stall door and I made a neat pile. Gross. I know. 

When we finished this ridiculous exercise, I took the items that did not fit them back through the customer service counter and returned them. I felt like all logic was lost with the store’s management practices but they were not my rules to make. I am a firm believer in providing excellent customer service and I found some in the best way I knew how that day. And my kids now have clothes that fit.

I want to see businesses opening back up and prospering this summer. I want our grocery store shelves to be filled with all the dairy, vegetable and meat products we all love. I’m praying for our fellow farmers and businesspeople. I’m also ready to have choices back. Choose to go out, choose to stay home. Choose to wear masks or choose not to. Most of all, I’m hopeful we will all choose to love our neighbors. I know I love each of you, neighbors.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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