So, last night, my Personal Chef and I tried to grab a bite at the place where our story began. All of our "old haunts" are gone. Well, except for one. Turns out, though, we are WAY too old for that place now. I guess it's true, you really can't go home again.
Instead, we did something we haven't done since living in our little, country town. (We've lived here for 9 years.) We went to the pub on Main Street. Recently, a big, honkin' smoker was installed out behind the place, so the Personal Chef has been talking about checking it out. Last night we did.
It was once a firestation. For as long as I can remember, though, it's been a pub downstairs and a package store upstairs. (A package store is what folks in New England call a convenient store that also sells beer and wine.) The pub has changed owners four or five times since we've lived here. The place is small. There's a big horseshoe bar, five or six booths along the wall, and a small stage. There's also a patio with another half dozen tables outside. The walls were covered with firefighter memorabilia.
When we walked in, we didn't know a soul in the place. I was surprised, because we live in a REALLY small town. The crowd was clearly made up of locals, though. The bartender was a young woman who I'm sure has lived here her whole life. This was the kind of place you order a beer, a shot, or a rum and coke. The men in the room were a mix of plaid shirts, tee shirts, and polo shirts. The women were all well put together, but not fancy. No big hair. No bling. There was one couple that must have been from out of town. Probably friends of the musicians on stage. She looked a bit like a middle-aged Stevie Nicks. He looked a bit like Brett Michaels--long blonde hair, straw cowboy hat, sleeveless tee.
It would be a stretch to say there was a band. Actually it was two guys with guitars and a computer. They could play. They could not really sing. At all. Not that it mattered, because they played songs that everyone knew by heart. And the folks at the bar all sang along.
Two guys sat next to me. Turns out they were the fellows who worked the kitchen. One of them was definitely a local boy. Dark hair and the distinctive accent of the locals of French Canadian descent. The other guy recently moved here from Florida. He was very chatty. Told us about his gypsy past. He's lived all over the country, doing all kinds of work--commercial fishing, carny, line cook... He was even a camel handler for a small circus. Yes. It's a real job.
The owner of the place came over and the gypsy cook introduced us. He and my Personal Chef talked shop for a while. I watched the crowd. And suddenly I realized that this is where we live. This is our community.
And I'm okay with that.