Saturday, January 21, 2012


This is a picture of a McDonalds that sits across the parking lot from one of the two grocery stores in my town. It’s obviously seen better days. I have no idea why it’s being torn down, or what exciting business might be built in its place. But the first time I drove by it, as the back hoe began its work, I smiled. It’s a good sign to me.

I have nothing against Ronald’s place. We don’t go there very often, but I will boldly admit I do enjoy his food every now and then, especially his amazing French fries. But seeing his building falling to the ground made me happy because it’s a step in the process of feeling at home in my new hometown.

When we first drove around Evergreen, a year ago, we took note of where the groceries stores were, which fast food places existed in our mountain town (hint: not many), where I could find the local post office, and which roads led to the ski resorts. I did the mental mapping I do every time we move. Where will I go to run my daily errands, and which roads will I use to attend school functions?

This very McDonalds went on my mental map, mainly because it had a Red Box machine sitting out front, and it’s currently our favorite way to rent new movies.

Then autumn came, and we slowly but surely moved here. First the boys and Jeff, then I joined them. In December our daughter made the trek across the country, and we all officially became Colorado residents.

I’m still at the place where I rarely see someone I know in the grocery store. Our downstairs neighbor works at the floral department, so I sometimes get a wave from her. I often see people I think I know, because they remind me of someone I knew in New York, or Utah, or Missouri…but it’s never ‘them’. The reality is, I know about six people in our entire small town (not counting the checkout clerks, who I eagerly chat with every single week).

Meanwhile, I notice the other shoppers around me, greeting each other and giving hugs or handshakes, as they exclaim, ‘Hey there! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you!” I know someday I’ll have my first moment, my first, ‘Hey, I know you!’ moment as my cart crosses paths with a familiar face.

But the McDonalds being torn down, to be replaced by another building, gives me hope. Someday, maybe a year from now, maybe five, someone will ask for directions, and I’ll be able to say, “it’s down there, you know, by where the McDonalds used to be…” I’ll be an old timer. I’ll be a person who has watched our town grow and change. I’ll have memories of things that used to be here, but were replaced by other things.

Just this week I answered an ad from the free section of our local Craig’s List. I scored a huge tub of hypoallergenic (expensive!)laundry detergent that gave the woman’s daughter a rash. In the course of our meeting, we discovered our sons go to the same school, and are in the same class. In fact, my son’s best friend has a huge crush on this woman’s daughter.

We chatted about teenagers and shared some stories about our lives, and I now look forward to seeing her in the grocery store.
Who knows? Maybe she’ll be my first grocery store run in. I’ll come around the end of an aisle and realize I recognize someone.

Then I’ll be the one who pulls my cart to the side and says, “Hey! I know you!”


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