Growing up my dad owned a grocery store, Taylor’s Grocery, which eventually became Taylor’s Big Star. This grocery store was a part of my family for most of my adolescence. As a kid, it was AWESOME to have the store opened after hours by your dad to run wild in & get everything for “free”. Frozen pizza, popcorn, coke, magazines, comics. That store was my oyster. My sister and I were even the store mascots during the annual Chicken and Egg parade.
(Yep, my hometown’s summer festival celebrated poultry. Laugh. It. Up.) See Exhibit A.
I learned many things by being the daughter (and mascot) of a grocer:
I learned the importance of properly sacking groceries, a skill that I still value to this day. You want squashed bread about as much as you want soap flavored apples, which is about as much as you want broken eggs, right? Never underestimate the importance of sacking your groceries. Ever.
I learned how to efficiently scan barcodes. Well, when the scanner cooperates. Which also explains why I almost always choose the self-checkout line when the option is available. That line takes me back to a childhood of playing on the scanners after-hours at the family grocery store.
I learned, thankfully not from first-hand experience, that those meat slicers in the deli can be awfully dangerous. I also learned that pricing guns aren’t dangerous and can actually be a lot of fun to use.
(No wonder why my dad always let me price stuff when I asked. Hmm…must’ve been the free labor thing. Though my parents would never encourage free labor. WOULD YOU mom & dad?)
I learned independence, because as a toddler my mom was known to wake up and see me toddling down the driveway to see daddy. Yep, I was an early riser. An early-riser who missed her dad. Thank goodness it was a straight shot, literally, to the grocery store from our house and that I never made it further than the driveway before getting caught.
I learned where to find my dog, Sugar, a Cocker Spaniel, when he wasn’t in his pen. 9 times out of 10 he had jumped the fence and went to visit my dad at the grocery store.
But back to this blog inspiring window…
At the back of the store there was a small window, behind that window was the most fun area of the store. A tiny private “office”, if you will. To get to this office you had to climb up some stairs. Often these stairs were blocked by pallets or boxes, but that never got in our way. My sister and I would go up to this office with a box of Gushers or Fruit Roll-Ups, a few Archie comic books, some crayons and coloring books, and a fruit juice jug of some kind. We would feel like the queens of the store.
(I’m generalizing here. Maddie may not have felt this way, in which case she can clarify her feelings in the comments.)
From that little-bitty window we could see everything. A woman thumbing through magazines, a man picking fruit, every.single.person that walked through the doors.
Unfortunately, we never witnessed some of the more interesting happenings of the store from that window. Like the time a guy decided to steal cigarettes, so he stuffed them down his pants then ran out of the store with the manager following him, leaving a trail of cigarettes along the way. Not to mention losing his pants in the pursuit as well. Or so I’m told.
But I loved everyday that we got to sit up in that “office” watching over the store. From that window we could see exactly what a small town is about. Smiles to strangers, friendships, support, gossip, laughter, family, and eating.
Being the daughter of a grocer taught me so much more than the importance sacking and scanning. It taught me the importance of a community that sticks together through thick and thin.