by Adam Zack — October 19, 2022
I’ve long maintained that independent grocers have the best opportunity to entrench themselves into their community by telling their stories. Stories like how the store started with $100 in the bank, personal loans were taken out to buy inventory and owners working seven days a week for the first year. Stories of signature products get people interested. Everyone loves a good story. The story I’m about to tell has nothing to do with the grocery business. It has surprise, joy, love, sadness, tragedy and ultimately redemption. Like all stories that you should tell, it’s absolutely true. It’s a little long, so buckle in.
Last week my wife had a surprise 80th birthday party for her mom. It involved months and months of planning, coordination with all of her brothers and sisters (there are six!), family flying in from other states, special commemorative birthday shirts for everyone, a mobile pizza caterer, custom balloons and much more. In other words, it was a BIG DEAL. I asked my nephew, who is an excellent photographer, to come for the start to memorialize this epic event digitally, offering to pay him and his lovely fiancé in pizza, Lacroix and Kombucha. The surprise went off without a hitch – 42 family members lining the street and cheering as Rosemary drove up. Photos were taken of all the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren with her. Family group photos, moms with all their children together for the first time in years. This was perhaps the last time everyone would gather together at one time until Rosemary’s funeral – which at her rate will be at least 15 years. It was a truly memorable event and it was documented so well.
My nephew gave me the SD drive from his camera and I took it home so we could cull through the photos over the weekend while we watched football. Unfortunately, my MacBook at home doesn’t have a SD slot, and when we put it in my wife’s laptop, it said “Unable to read”. So I decided to bring it back to work on Monday, and during lunch time go through the photos. I placed it safely in the little change pocket in the front of my Levi’s. You know that little riveted pocket, it’s the one anyone hardly ever uses. It was tucked in there safely. I was doing some work, and got what my wife calls a “bad stomach” which involves a quick trip to the toilet and multiple flushes. Our office plumbing is old and weak, so after remedying the “bad stomach” I was not particularly surprised that the toilet started to back up at flush one. A plunger cleared the backup, and after I turned the water back on I did a bowl cleansing flush two and raised my Levi’s back in place. As I was pulling them up, the SD drive popped out of my jeans and flew directly into the toilet as the last of the water drained. A quick grab for it was too late, and those memories were now a part of the San Diego sewer system. I thought frantically of ways to retrieve it, but unlike the drain pipe trap on a sink, there is no such trap on a toilet. I called my wife right away, telling her that I had some really bad news. She immediately thought, due to the sadness in my voice, that I was calling her to tell her someone had died. As always, she looked to the bright side, saying how a lot of people were taking photos with their phones, and we could probably get enough together to be effective. Later that night, she admitted that when I hung up the phone, she started crying. So I’m telling my nephew about the whole disaster, and he says newer cameras have dual SD drives, because sometimes one fails. Alas, his camera did not. I had pretty much given up hope when later he told me that he is pretty sure he downloaded the photos to his computer, because he was going to put them on a thumb drive, but there was not enough space on the thumb drive. Hope had arrived. We wouldn’t know until he got home to check, but with crossed fingers and praying hands emojis we clung to hope. Around 5:30 I got the text results – photos were saved. A miracle that surpassed even the Transit Center Lost Wallet Recover had occurred. What a story, and what a relief.
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