Our local eatery, "BR's Grill" is closing it's doors. Now, usually this would just create a little sadness. After all, it is just a restaurant.
... but it isn't.
BRs has grown up with me.
When I was little it was "Millie's Grill" in the back of the Jif-E mart. When Big Mark was still a respiratory therapist and owned Rem-Labs in Pinetops, I felt so grown up calling in my own order and ordering my standard "cheeseburger without (I didn't even have to say "without onions" because they know what "without" means) with a french fry and large lemonade" and then Daddy watching me cross the street all by myself to pick it up.
Then, when I was in middle school and Millie's had made it's big move from just a grill in the back of a gas station to actually owning the building (the gas station became the Shell mart across the street). When I didn't make the cheerleading squad there was my daddy, waiting for me in the car with my order (with an extra fry to make me feel better).
And when I grew up even more and got to high school, I still chose Millie's for all kinds of occasions. It wasn't just our lunch place, it was THE place to be for lunch. If we had an early release day, you could guarantee the booths would be full of kids. Millie's was our "happy hour", a few hours early.
As high school ended and I left for UNC-Wilmington, the first thing I wanted when I came home was a "cheeseburger without" from Millie's. The grilled changed from being the place to lunch to the place to meet other friends who were coming home from college and also needed a burger. I sat there for hours with friends, catching up on how their classes were, what guys they'd
Millie sold the grill and it was bought by another local guy, BR a few years ago. Now that I have a big girl job and no longer have the fun option of running to the grill all the way from work for lunch, I stop for breakfast. I've met a whole new crowd in the early morning hours. The farmers. This group doesn't have the luxury of a lunch break, they are a lot older and need black coffee and a hearty breakfast to start their day. I feel so silly running in their half awake with my high heels and sunglasses stopping to pick up my bacon and egg on dry toast, when they're sitting there with two hours work of work already under their belts.
It's so silly probably to be so moved by the closing of a local eatery, but I can't imagine a time when the grill wasn't there. Who else will know that it's me calling and what I want before I can even finish calling in my order? Where else have I spilled out my troubles and triumphs over a messy burger and soggy fries? What other restaurant can offer a burger that is the solution to most problems?
I feel like a little bit of my hometown is disappearing with the closing of BR's - and it makes me wonder... how much longer can I stay here?