Thursday, February 26, 2009
I like chicken. No, really, I find chicken to be a particularly tasty treat, especially when cooked with delicious spices by someone who actually gives a crap. So, maybe I should be more excited about a Chick-fil-A opening next week in southwest Bakersfield. I mean, I do have fond memories of the Chick-fil-A that used to be in the Valley Plaza mall ages ago…
My mother used to take me there a few times a week to do some light shopping back in the 80’s when the Valley Plaza had actual stores to shop at. You know, book stores and music stores and toy stores? Essentially, the stuff that isn’t at the mall now. It was a quick and easy place to pick up some cool stuff.
I’d come home with a He-Man toy, or a Choose Your Own Adventure book. And, typically, I’d be stuffed with Chick-fil-A or Piccadilly or Orange Julius. Those were good times.
Being a kid, I loved looking at all the cool things I couldn’t have, like the fancy video games in the toy store windows, or the puppies at the pet store (Yes, I do realize now as an adult that those mall pet stores were an atrocity. But I was a kid then, so yay!). The mall even had a fountain inside!
The Chick-fil-A was one of the first stores to go when the mall economy went from “Hot Bestselling Books” to “Hot Topic.” They took out the pet store. The fountain was ripped down. Kiosks took up the middle of the walkways. Orange Julius was forced into food court purgatory. I don’t go to the mall so much anymore.
Bakersfield has gone without Chick-fil-A ever since the last one closed. So, I really feel like I should be more excited about the idea of a new store opening in the area after nearly two decades without. Heck, they’re even giving out a whole year of free food to the first 100 adults in line.
Yet for some reason, I just don’t care. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll stop there at some point in the next few months. The fondness of childhood memories demands it. But I won’t be camping out for free food. I won’t be flipping out like the rest of Bakersfield.
Mainly because those memories need to stay where they are, locked in childhood. The enjoyment I had from going to Chick-fil-A has nothing to do with the food itself. It’s just a good memory of good times that’ll never be replicated in exactly the same way.