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"I'm going to have a lot of cans to open," the bargain-hunter said as she placed four more cans of chicken broth in her cart in the grocery aisle where I happened to be.

"The cans are cheaper than the large quart containers, believe it or not," she explained apologetically, realizing that other shoppers were trying to negotiate around her cart in the middle of the aisle.

We let several customers go around, and I said, "Good for you. Do you have some helpers to open all the cans?"

"Yes, I hope so, since my kids are 10 and 13, and both like to help me."

I nodded approvingly and noticed that her sweatshirt had "Toledo" across the front, so I added, "Are you from Toledo, and did you go to the University of Toledo?"

"Why, yes, I am, and yes, I did," she said.

I responded, "I'm from Toledo also, and two of my siblings are UT Rockets. Thanks for wearing your special sweatshirt! It's a nice reminder of home."

So we exchanged a few bio facts about where we both lived in Toledo and how we got to Cincinnati.

Leslie, my new friend, continued, "I'm a cardio-pulmonary tech, and one of the local hospitals recruited me two years ago. My family likes it here, so I'm extra pleased to now be in this community. Go Rockets!"

What a great conversation, and all because Leslie wore hometown threads.

[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati.]