Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pet Shop Memory

There weren't any pet shops in Summersville, WV in the 1970s. Hell, there weren't even any there in the 1980s. The closest pet shop to my hometown was in Montgomery, WV, near the West Virginia Institute of Technology. There was a Montgomery Ward or G.C. Murphy or some such store that had an elevator, an escalator and a pet shop.

It was soooo cosmopolitan!

My family traveled the 40 miles to Montgomery only during times my grandfather was there in the hospital. During my teen years he suffered through more than a couple heart attacks, and lived with lots of pain in between. We spent a lot of time in Montgomery General Hospital, camped out in it's cardiac unit.

And when grandpa was napping, I'd sneak a quick visit to the pet shop in the store next door.

The colorful birds were my favorite.

(Still are, even though now I think the snakes and lizards are pretty cool.)

My grandpa loved animals, but I never talked to him about the birds that I saw. That ride up the escalator to the cages and the glassed-in puppy and kitten windows was my adventure; to speak of it would reduce the magic.

Today, I can't walk into a pet store without thinking of my grandpa. I miss him. Somehow, in the years since he's been gone, birds have become a lot less colorful.

Wonder if that's a coincidence.


Paul said...

Nice post. Sounds like you were quite close to your grandfather, as I was mine.

Not long ago I found my grandfather's old safety razors. When I was young he used to give me one without a blade in it so I could stand at the sink and "shave" with him. I cleaned them up, bought some blades, and learned how to really shave with them.

It's interested the things we hold in our minds that keep us close to those who have passed.

The Film Geek said...

Thanks, Paul. We were very close.

Love the razor story. :)