You know what I had to realize about myself at some point? I didn’t appreciate home enough. Not home. I think I appreciate the heck out of that. My boys, the first one included, and the life we have in these walls. But I mean the little town our life is in. And the region. And the state . . . It’s not that I didn’t like it. I’ve just been sort of indifferent to it. But that’s changing. I’m trying to appreciate it all more, to have favorite things about it, reasons to stay.
So here’s a tribute to a place I love. You’re going to be bored at first. It’s Long John Silvers. I know. Chains shouldn’t count. Nothing with national television spots can be on my list of favorite local things. But you have to see it. It sticks out all by itself way before the mass of fast food chains further down the strip. It looks like it grew up out of the concrete in the parking lot of the old Walmart and current shopping – um – corner?
Anyway, I don’t go there often, and every time I do – it makes me very happy. First the workers. They look sort of – well – tired. And a bit tattooed. Some of them very tattooed. And many of them a little like they might be waiting for their next cigarette break. But they are the salt of the service industry. Every single time. They act genuinely happy to give me the right sauce and to add those awesome little fried pieces of batter when they give me my chicken.
That’s all I ever get there. The battered chicken and cole slaw. Those chicken strips are the most fattening delicacy I can’t live without. I adore them. When I was pregnant the second time, they’re almost all I ate. And then there’s this bell with a long thin rope dangling from it that hangs by the exit. You’re supposed to ring it if you think they did a good job, and people actually do. And not only that, when you ring it, at least one – but often two – of the workers – counter and kitchen help alike – will yell out, “Thank you!” It just makes me smile. There may be a conglomerate on the billboard outside, but inside it’s all mom-and-pop. And I love it. I’d love it more if it were called Small Town Guy’s Shrimp Shack. It would feel more like undiscovered treasure then. But it’s the closest I’ve got, so consider it appreciated. And, no, it’s not lost on me that I go to a seafood chain to eat chicken.
Up next week: Walgreens! Just kidding. Have you seen the price of toiletries there?