It’s rare that I have a day where I have no idea what to blog about. I had a couple days lately where I really didn’t do much or think much. I just floated through my life. Off to work, back home to watch tv and go to sleep. All just to do it again. Time to figure out something completely random to write about.
My family moved in the summer between my grade 9 and grade 10 year. My parents downsized into a newer home in a newly built suburb. It was a really nice place, but I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood. A few blocks away was a family run video store. Not a Blockbuster by any means, and the selection did lack. I remember going there the day “Problem Child” was to come out on VHS. They did not have a copy that week. But because we went there every couple of days that summer, the owner got to know me and had the film ready the following week for me and kept a copy aside for me to rent. (Little secret- it’s not a good movie.)
Next door to the video store was a small fast food burger restaurant. I got employed later that year as my first real job flipping burgers. My boss was a great Korean fellow named Byung Sunny Kim. We called him Sunny. He would sing songs in Korean and if it was just the two of us working, he’d incorporate my name into the song. He was a pleasant man and took really good care of me while I worked there through high school. Even buying me my first flat of beer (yeah, I was 17) and we had a couple beers on the back steps of the restaurant- and he told me to behave.
At the video store they ran a contest to guess the day the owner would give birth to her first child. Winner would get a year of free movie rentals. I have no idea who won, but it was a community feeling as we waited for her to have her baby. I remember seeing the child shortly after she was born as the owner had to work regularly at her own store. That’s the difficulty of running a small business.
This little neighborhood strip mall die die shortly after I graduated. Burger Brothers was bought by McDonalds as Sunny cashed in for retirement. The video store was squeezed out by a Blockbuster Video that was on a major road, garnering more traffic. It took me turning into an adult to realize that I had it pretty good when I lived there as a teenager. The emotional connections I made with the small business owners meant a lot and have stayed with me a lifetime. I continue to support small businesses and have grown to appreciate the personal touches they give to me as a regular customer.
I had nothing to write about today, so I chose a time in my life that I forgot about. Maybe I’ve mentioned these stories in the past, maybe I haven’t. But at least I created some content, which is my daily goal. It also made me a bit sad to think about these old family run businesses that are no more.
But they impacted who I am today in their own way. And for that I am grateful- looking back when I am unsure where to go in the future.