Old Memories Die Hard

Last night was one of those nights where you sit and think about things. It was the type of night where if you enjoyed liquor and you had a bottle, you’d have a glass. You wouldn’t gulp it down trying to wash away memories. No, you’d sit quietly reliving each and everyone, thinking about friends you haven’t seen in a while, and lightly sipping to enjoy the harshness its reality brings you.

Living in a small town has it’s good side and bad side. You know everyone and everyone knows you. I haven’t yet figured out of that’s the good side or the bad side. Either way it has its moments. All the farmers from the outlying areas come into town once a week well before sunrise to meet at the local diner for breakfast, there’s always a group of old women you who know all the “business” of everyone in town, and there’s a local grocery store where you are greeted with a smile and a wave. It doesn’t seem like much to many but that’s pretty much small town life, for me a lot of it was the grocery store.

I got hired at the grocery store straight out of high school. On the recommendation of a friend I put in my application and made sure I showed my face every day. Soon I got a call asking if I could work and could I start that day. Sure I could. I had no idea it was going to change my life.

There’s lots of things I remember about the store and like all things in life there were good, and bad. I remember bags of dog food stacked high in the corner and shelves that never seemed to stay straightened. I remember the freezers full of milk and produce and the time the freezer iced over and we played hockey when we were supposed to be cleaning out the freezer. I remember cleaning the deli case and finding a kitten underneath and I remember losing a close friend in a car accident.

I remember the Loma Prieta earthquake, the cans rattling on the shelves and I remember getting the call telling me my father had died. I remember my brother, who has since passed away, helping me sheetrock the office and water fights on the produce aisle.

It was the place I bought my first car (and second) and the place I fell in love for the first time. It was also where I learned about heart break. It was there I became part of a family who accepted me and took me as one of their own inviting me to experience their culture, and learn about their traditions and it was there I became strong and grew into a man.

Though the doors may be locked now and a new name will soon be on the building, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to remove the place it holds in my heart. Goodbye old friend.