This week has been an incredible week for me. I didn’t realize so many people knew that I had been gone a year in Seattle.
I was at Costco and on my way in the Mayor of my town is coming out. I say, "Mayor!" and then he surprised me by saying, "Rick! Welcome back!". 1) I didn’t know that he knew me by name and 2) I didn’t know that he knew I was gone. We shook hands and friendly pats on the back and talked about the changes in the town in a year. He invited me to the party he has at the end of the year and then we went about our respective business.
Last night I was driving around the neighborhood and saw an old neighbor (I live in the same neighborhood, actually the same street–just around the corner). He proceeded to swear. @#$@%^&^*$#$%!@#$! RICK!! #$%^$&^%&@ YOU’RE BACK!!
I’ve been swore at before when someone was angry at me, but never because someone was so happy. He just kept swearing… it was un-nerving in a way. He gave me a huge hug and took my new number and then I went my way.
Downtown Phoenix has a restaurant that I LOVE. It’s called ELIANA’S, named after the proprietor’s daughter. It boasts the best Salvadoran food in the USA outside of Los Angeles (which has more Salvadorans than El Salvador). I come in and he says "Y tu, adonde has metido? Por que no has venido?" I tell him I was in Seattle and he breaks out in perfect English "WHAT! What are you doing going up there? You belong right here! Welcome home!"
At the gym, there is a guy (don’t even know his name)…we love to chide each other over sports. He loves the sCrUBS…that ought to tell you something about how our banter usually goes. He usually is on the elliptical machine and comes in just as I’m finishing. He sees me and comes up and says, "And where have YOU been?!! SLACKER…all you White Sox and Bears fans…LAZY bums! Welcome back!!"
Welcome back, indeed.