Old Harry is a regular. Every day or so, he is in for the paper, sometimes a magazine. Always with a smile. He’s a happy bloke. Yesterday was different. He was quietly looking at the new baby cards. He’d been in front of them for ten minutes or so, not moving. I could sense something was up. “Hey, Harry,” I said as I approached. “Oh, hi.” It was if he was lost in his thoughts. I took the hint. “I’ll leave you to it,” I said, and turned to walk away. “She would have been forty-five today.” Harry’s face was lined with sadness. He looked at the baby girl cards, reached across and placed his hand on some before speaking again.”Vicky we called her, Vicky. She would have been forty-five today.” Harry paused, looking to the ground. “She died during the birth. So, today’s her birthday, but it’s not.” “I’m so sorry Harry.” “It’s okay. Nothing can change it.” Harry tapped the new baby girl cards again, sighed and walked across to get his newspaper. I stood there realising, once again, that a shop is so many different things every day.

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I am a Director of newsXpress, a marketing group for newsagents keen for a bright future. You can reach me on +61 418 321 338 or mark[at]

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