Wordless Wednesday

Rome Summer 2004

Gettin' the Europe itch again...

Came across one of my favorite film pictures I’ve ever taken and had to share.

Grocery Lessons

See that window? That BIG window at the top of the picture? That’s the window that inspired me today as my mom and I enjoyed a day of shopping.

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.

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.

Weekend Recap

This weekend, Adam and I enjoyed all that Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas had to offer. Well, almost. We only made it there for 2 nights, but we still had a blast! Earth, Wind, and Fire, fireworks, and Ludacris, what’s not to love? We also got to see each of our families. All in all, we kept I-40 hot…

Here’s some highlights:

Friday:

  • Heidi Montag left Spencer, is the world coming to an end?
  • Watching Adam rap and groove to Outkast – Ms. Jackson while driving to Riverfest is one if the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed…
  • The streets around Riverfest are filled with cars blaring 90’s rap/hip hop and all the drivers are white.
  • Waiting patiently for Earth, Wind, & Fire http://twitpic.com/1ryqkj
  • A DJ is spinning mixes of old-school rap/hip hop. Think O.P.P. and Da Dip and Hip Hop Hooray into Usher’s Yeah.
  • Save me. Adam is quoting Spaceballs while we wait for Earth Wind & Fire…
  • There is nothing better than watching white people with no rhythm dance to hip hop music.
  • At Earth, Wind, & Fire, Adam’s first impression of the band is “That tall guy is wearing some interesting pants.”

Saturday:

  • On our way to lunch, Adam says/sings, “I’m a Rock. It. Man!” just in case I ever doubted his geek status…
  • Protein. Dairy. Grains. Veggies. Totally healthy right? http://tweetphoto.com/24547642
  • This bike shop is named Poppa Wheelies? Really?
  • I just missed Adam’s fist in a fist bump. #IAdmitMyFlaws #IFail
  • Today I learned that Adam has never seen “Catch Me If You Can”. Tonight we’re watching it together.

Sunday:

  • Dad: “What is box wine?”
  • Dad: “I had some of that behind the blue moon beer”.
  • Oh Sonic, does it really take 5 minutes, 1 callback, and 3 tries to order 2 shakes? Oh, it does? Yay!
  • After Ludacris sang “Move B!tch” Adam and I left. We didn’t want to disobey Mr. Luda, as he had an entourage.
  • Listening to the LRPD scanner. Glad we got out when we did…
image via LITTLE ROCK CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Family Road Trips

Kiawah

Every summer, for as long as I can remember, my family would pile up in our gray Chevy Astro Van with GrandMerle and Ottie to begin our 18 hour drive to Kiawah Island, SC. Most drives were straight through the night [Thanks, Dad!] but I never remember them being stressful. Perhaps this was due to my naivety at a young age or perhaps my family really was a perfectly happy traveling family [the latter would be proven incorrect circa 1999], either way my memories are fond of that entire trip.

I remember my family’s stops to Shoney’s, Casey Jones Village, and Cracker Barrel along the way. [Remember that line in Father of the Bride: II, “that’ll be economical: one child, two seniors, thanks”? For us it was 2 children, 2 adults, and 2 seniors. At Shoney’s? That was a STEAL!] I remember being somewhere between Arkansas and Georgia popping an occasional VHS tape into our van’s TV [yeah, we were soo high-tech], eating our weight in Peanut Butter Logs [courtesy of Ottie], playing Skip-Bo, Old Maid, or Go Fish! while driving down the road, or singing along to oldies [since that’s all my dad ever played on the radio]. And who could forget those overnight drives when my sister and I thought it was so cool that our backseat folded into a bed?!

Then came the invention of the Walkman and my purchase of Lisa Loeb’s Tails cassette tape, coupled with my discovery of The Boxcar Children, and my sister’s discovery of the Thoroughbred series and these trips were forever transformed. I’m sure my parents and grandparents were very happy about this newfound distraction on the long drive to SC, because my sister and I both became occupied with our respective traveling libraries.

Nevertheless, all of my memories of family road trips are like this [except for the one involving an RV, but we’ll get there soon enough] and while I’m sure getting there was the biggest relief for the adults on the trip, some of my fondest memories lie in that old gray van. Whether it was sitting behind my dad listening to Lisa Loeb and reading the Boxcar Children or putting my head through the hole of a plywood painting of Casey Jones, it was getting there that was half the fun.