Here is another Note taken from the northwest side of Fort Worth “where nothing is”. Well, that depends on your viewpoint. Sometimes an ordinary supermarket among the tens of thousands like it becomes a special place you remember.
Late one afternoon, I went to the top of a hill near the house where I have a great view out to the west. On the horizon past the edge of the sea of houses, one can see structures in the distance. One can see the big grain elevators in Saginaw and more than one water tower sticking up, along with an oil drilling rig or two and a large highway sign. I glanced back and forth, taking in the view and trying to identify things I knew were there. One thing I did notice was the water tower at Lake Worth near your house.
Near that water tower, the kind that looks like an upside down onion with a stalk, is one place we had fun. That place was the Albertsons grocery store on Jacksboro Highway. A grocery store was a fun place? To me, it was, and here’s why.
I remember trying to cook dinner at your place one night and going through your pantry and shelves to find spices and equipment. I saw your supply of these things was sorely lacking. Based on that culinary deficiency, I asked where the nearest grocery store was. You replied Albertsons or Wal-Mart on Jacksboro Highway. Preferring Albertsons, I went there and bought some food, spices, and even a couple of pots and pans. I went back to your house and prepared dinner.
As time went on, I kept doing that. I would drive over there—sometimes you would go with me—buy some victuals and prepare a good dinner. I even reorganized your cabinets some, so I would know where everything was. Since you did not cook, I did not think you ever noticed that. But that was okay; I enjoyed cooking for you and your kids. Plus it was a way for all of us to spend time together and get to know each other.
We went in Albertsons after you had moved to my house as well. When we went on drives up to Lake Country or elsewhere, we would drop in there and grab a six pack of beer and maybe a snack. That Albertsons, just an average grocery store, was certainly a part of our lives in more than one way.
And perhaps it still is. One day, I was driving home from somewhere on the west side. It was late afternoon on a clear, sunny day, and I did not know what I was going to cook. So I exited off of 820, went up Jacksboro Highway, and went into the Albertsons. Even though it had been months since I had been in there, maybe even a year, it still looked the same as it always had. The veggies and deli were to the left, the beer to the right, and all of the rest of the stuff was in the middle. The aisles were filled with the usual assortment of people from all walks of life, going back and forth with their carts and getting drinks, frozen pizzas, and the usual things people buy these days. The Albertsons hot French bread was of course present near the checkout lines as it was in the afternoon. All was as it had been before, and it seemed comfortable and familiar as always.
So I grabbed a cart and did the same thing they were doing, which was the same thing I had done with you. I walked the aisles, picking up something from the menu in my mind and remembered our days and evenings there. Finishing my shopping, I checked out, put the sacks in my car, and drove home and cooked my dinner.
Thus, I reentered a place I honestly thought I would never go into again. With grocery stores closer to my house, another Albertsons even, why would I drive 12 miles or so just to buy some milk or chicken? Honestly, I won’t deliberately go there to buy food; but while I was there, I also went through the memories on the shelves of my mind— grocery bag from life filled with good and happy times spent in an average store. And that small bit of mental shopping was well worth the drive to Lake Worth that warm and pretty day.