On our way to Grubsteakers, newly opened from being smashed by the EF4 tornado, Mr P said, “That was the farm where I delivered a propane tank. Everyone wanted theirs delivered first, but I couldn’t be first for all five people. I just left it. The owner wasn’t happy.”
I looked at the barns, thinking about how people who stay put can point to the places where their lives took place. I thought of the Aborigines, how the land itself was the language for the stories they told.
I wanted to leave home when I saw jets flying out of Albany airport. I got my wish but, now at 60, I miss being able to tell stories of that train I rode for my fifth-year birthday, the track now a bike path, or the wrong side of the wall in Thacher park, the cliff a few feet away, where I sat, numb, hours after I buried my mother.
I miss being able to point and say, “There is where it happened.”
I miss the land making up the language of my childhood stories, not broken apart by living here and there. I miss the people I grew up with, people I could talk to over pizza at Smitty’s and say “Remember when?” and they’d know exactly what I’m talking about.
But, I will remember my first meal at Grubsteakers — fried chicken better than homemade, eating with our neighbors — after it opened, after being wrecked.
I’m Katie Andraski, and this is my perspective.
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