Love where you live!
Malts, Tacos and Shrimp & Grits
When I was a little girl, I used to go to my favorite restaurant with my mother in Whittier, California, where I grew up: the counter at the Woolworth Store. I loved sitting on the red vinyl and chrome stools because I enjoyed spinning around on them. Normally I would get french fries and a chocolate malt. I adored going there, and looking back on it, I'm sure the thought never even once crossed my mind that that Woolworth's would ever be gone. Because when you're little, everything pretty much seems to stay the same. I'm sure it's because everything pretty much is the same when you're five or six years old…
Last night my friend and I went to Gingham for supper. We got there early and got a table by the window in the bar. We used to sit along the same big roll-up window when the restaurant was Gio's. We love sitting there sipping wine and eating street tacos and watching people and dogs walk past. In the beginning it never crossed my mind that this wouldn't stay Gio's forever. Just like Woolworth's seemed to me when I was a girl.
As we sat there watching people walk by, what struck me was all the new faces I saw. In the "old days" at Gio's, I was able to recognize almost all the people who strolled past the window. Like locals, or regulars at Gio's. People like us. But this evening was different. New people in town to eat at Gingham. Cars lined the street looking for places to park. It was bustling, and it wasn't even seven o'clock yet!
Our order of grits and shrimp arrived at the table, a change from my still beloved street tacos to be sure, and as I savored each bite (and resisted the urge to hog more than my share), I looked out the window across the street and remembered when Ken's Rock Shop was there and my son Paul and I went inside to buy a geode with his birthday money. He loved going in there to buy rocks there when he was little. But that store is gone now and in its place is a thriving antique shop filled with beautiful things. Times change: rocks get replaced by treasures, malts morph into tacos and tacos turn into shrimp.
I know for myself change can be particularly hard when the cherished--and known-- comfort and habits of the recent past seem threatened by the perceived discomfort of something new taking its place. Like the itchy new sweater you had to wear when you were ten because you'd outgrown the one you'd worn for what seemed like all your life. The soft comfy old one. With the hole(s) in it.
We La Mesans face lots of changes ahead. Stores close. New ones open. People move. New folks settle in. Woolworth closed. Gio's opened. Gio's closed. Gingham opened.
Some changes are easy; others not so much. But I, for one, think it's really pretty wonderful what might begin unfolding in our village and I'm excited to have things grow and change.
Change might feel a little itchy at times, but that soft, old comfy sweater with the holes in it was itchy at first, too.