where everybody knows your name.

When I got to work this afternoon, there was man sitting at the bar that I recognized. Al used to talk to him every weekend there — they’d sit together, and John would tell Alex about his wife, who was ill, and about his huge family. John was coming back through town today, many months after the loss of his wife, heading north to see his 6 kids, 28 grandkids, and 14 great-grandkids. And yes, I remember the numbers. You don’t forget when someone tells you something like that.  When I spoke to him, he said “Hey, I remember you.” Our daytime bartender said “See, John? I told you nothing had changed around here.”

Later, I asked my boss when would be a good time for me to have a party to commemorate my leaving Charlottesvegas and dear old McGs. He replied: “In a few years?”

I told him tonight was my tenth-to-last shift (because yes, I counted today). “Don’t talk to me,” he said.

You know, it’s hard to leave a place like that. A place where people aren’t afraid to tell you that it won’t be the same without you. A place where your customers will ask about you, weeks after you’ve moved, not because they forgot you left, but because they really want to know how you’re doing — and because they know your former co-workers will know. A place where you’re family. A place you’ve made home.

It is hard. It’s harder than I expected.

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6 Comments

Filed under the back burner.

6 responses to “where everybody knows your name.

  1. leaving bar jobs is the pits. Its more of a family than any other job, and you never seem to know that until you leave. good luck lady. xo

  2. Helen M.

    I count my lucky vodka tonics that I know you. And that I’ve been able to sit with you while you roll silverware and have some of the most meaningful (sometimes heart-wrenching) conversations under those lights, with all the TVs going, and that jolly rhino out front. I love you, Nikki.

    • H, there’s nothing like our talks over silverware and V&Ts (and cheese fries). I’m the lucky one — after all, you’re the one that was willing to sit with me. I’ll never see a jolly rhino without thinking of you. :) Love YOU.

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