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Visiting a Place from My Past

I visited a former workplace last Friday. I haven’t been in that building in over twenty years. It’s a grocery store where I worked three years of my college career. I saw some familiar faces, but I couldn’t quite place them. It has been twenty-five years since I worked there and twenty years since I shopped there. We’ve all aged.

I wanted one of my groups to be added to their tax exempt list so I can buy food and supplies for our conference this week. The store is close to the highway and will be easy for me to swing in, get the stuff, and be on my way. I figured it would be a good idea to get the paperwork done before I need to make the actual purchases.

I was part of the crew who opened the store in 1992. Walking down those aisles brought back so many memories. I remembered donning a hoodie and spending hours in the cooler stocking milk, eggs, and other dairy items. I remembered standing on a milk crate to reach the large plastic cases of bread and wheeling a cart laden with dozens of loaves through the store to replenish the shelves.

I remembered the shoplifter who had ten pounds of fresh shrimp stuffed down his pants. He’d brought his bag of shrimp up to the registers to have it weighed two or three times, but he didn’t have any when he checked out. My eagle-eyed manager noticed and chased him down. He found the shrimp in his pants, the man went to jail, and we tossed the crustaceans because we certainly couldn’t sell them after where they had been.

I remembered the crazy old man who informed me I was going to marry him and give him a son. That was creepy, to say the least. I didn’t walk to my car by myself for a week after his declaration. My coworkers were supportive and protective even after I calmed down.

So much has changed, but so much is the same. The produce department is still the best in town. I saw things there that I’ve never seen in my grocery store. The health supplements and liquor are still where they always were, close to each other. They’ve added a few short aisles at the front, no doubt to maximize their space usage.

Strolling through the store made me remember being that twenty-year-old woman I was when I began my employment at that establishment. I was full of hopes, dreams, goals, and myself. As I recalled all of the types of work I performed, I was struck by the energy and strength I once possessed. Those days are long gone. I don’t even think I could lift a fifty-pound bag of dog food anymore, let alone throw one up on each shoulder.

Visiting that store was like visiting my past. I had some good times and bad times there. I learned a lot and grew up a little. One thing is for certain though. I’ve come a long way since then. I’m older, wiser, physically weaker, and emotionally stronger.

Life is a journey. Don’t forget the steps you took to get where you are now.

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