Friday, September 26, 2008

"I have found all that shimmers in this world is sure to fade away"*

It was a sad day when I learned Paul’s famous hamburger stand closed. In an article in the local newspaper, the owner—a guy whose name isn’t Paul—said the cost of running the business was too much. There was no warning, no big closing-our-doors party, no last chance to get a juicy cheeseburger, an order of mozzarella sticks, and a chocolate shake. Here one day, gone the next.

Paul’s wasn’t just a hamburger stand; it was a testament to an old way of life when serving a product of quality was king. My dad used to take us kids there all the time. During the Christmas season, he would give out $10 Paul’s gift certificates like they were business cards. The employees always knew his name, and they learned mine once I started going there on my own. The stand’s motto said it all, "Not serving numbers but generations."

More than just the loss of a hamburger joint, though, Paul’s closing is a poignant reminder of how transient life is. It reminds me of when Harrison’s Hardware (the local hardware store that was around for over 90 years…I worked there while in high school and met my husband there) closed. It reminds me that Yankee Stadium will be torn down soon.

Yet as symbolic as these things are and as sad it is to lose them, they are just that: things. And worse than losing the things you love is losing the people you love. Still, I really do believe that humans are creatures of habit, and change, while inevitable, is unsettling. Without it, though, we wouldn’t have that little reminder to hold on tight to those things (and people) we love. Try not to take them for granted while they’re here because one day they won’t be.