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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Some things never get old

One week ago tonight, I was sitting in Shakespeares Pizza in Columbia, Mo. I love the place. It never changes, or at least hasn't since the first time I ate my first artichoke covered pizza there 12 years ago. Has it been that long?

The same chairs, the same old Indian motorcycle on top of the sturdy cabinet holding the silverware and thin ragged red towels that serve as napkins. Even some of the waiters and pizza makers look the same -- students that come in when others just like them left for higher paying jobs. I like Shakespeares because the Columbia we knew so many years ago is becoming a shadow of itself. Gone is the safe college town atmosphere. It's been replaced by a city bursting at its seams. Shopping centers, chain restaurants and large department stores that we only dreamed about are now a part of the landscape. Students hungry for some late night shopping no longer have to trek 35 miles to Jefferson City to find a 24-hour Wal-Mart. They are plentiful in Columbia now.

While in Columbia, we took our grandson to the doctor for his school physical while our oldest daughter, now a student there herself, was at work. It was the same office where we had taken our youngest daughter 12 years ago. She was 10 at the time she broke her finger at the pool. She's 22 now. It felt familiar, not old.

So we laughed when our grandson said his doctor was going to be old. "At least 15," he said. A medical resident at the College of Medicine, she didn't look much older than that.

When we left, we asked our grandson how old she was. "She was really old, I think 22," he declared.

"M, do you think we're old?" We asked, expecting a definite yes.

"No. You're not old. You're comfortable." he told us, with a hug.

And, maybe that's why we like places like Shakespeare's Pizza with it's ragged towels and pony-tailed pizza makers. It's comfortable.

7 comments:

Scott said...

Alas, even Shake's ain't the same. Not since they made the back room a no-smoking zone and busted out the back wall to install glass double doors. I used to love lurking in the far, dark corners of that room, sneaking drinks under age and playing Addams Family pinball until I couldn't see straight.

Gina said...

To me, Shake's will always be the same, because when I walk in there I'm always accompanied by great memories.

V-Grrrl said...

My new motto: I'm not old, I'm comfortable.

Sherrie said...

Shakes' no smoking room is heaven to those of us who are alums with kids who love Shakes' pizza. :) Sorry Scott.

and yes, we've turned into those annoying alumni who show up at Homecoming every year with our spawn and hit our old spots. Which I'm sure drives the current students as crazy as it did us in our day.

Gina said...

People without kids like the non-smoking room, too. I'm just sayin'. :)

But if they ever get rid of the plastic cups, there'll be a riot.

CISSY said...

Despite the no-smoking rules, Shakes is the same. The Addams Family has been replaced with another pinball machine and students still find dark corners to lurk. For all the changes, Columbia downtown manages to retain its personality. The Peace Nook is still there luring the unwashed masses and unsuspecting students. Cool Things,The Blue Note -- all still there. Yep. I feel so much "older" when I go to Columbia.

Scott said...

And then next thing you know, we'll all be sitting around the breakfast table talking about how much we like Total cereal and how good for us it is.

Come to think of it, I really DO like Total.

OH MY GOD! IT'S HAPPENING ALREADY!!!

P.S. Shake's is NOT the same and that's final! Pfffffffbbbtttt!!!! ;P