Five years ago, when Farmer Pickles invited us to Albuquerque for the very first S-fest, i had the pleasure of actually visiting a Trader Joe's store.
Ever since, i've been itching to get back to one, or to have one near enough here that i could go once in a while.
While i was in there, i mentioned to the nice lady who was checking us out that it was my first visit to one of their stores, and that i wished they had one near here. She whispered, "Shh, don't say anything, but it's in the 5 year plan to have our first store in Louisiana by then!"
When, last year, the rumors began to fly that this was indeed true, i was thrilled, as were many others. The newspaper confirmed it was coming, and when i would go to that area, i would note the decrepit buildings from the past 20-30 years of failed businesses being torn down and the area revitalized with the new stores, of which TJs would be the anchor.
Then, they set the opening -- for October 31. Almost, almost, my plans to be there when they opened were derailed -- by Sweetie's car needing to go into the shop that day for a new battery. But i was determined, and dropped Little Girl at school, met him at the mechanics, where we left the car and dropped the key through the slot (they know the car and what it needs -- as much as i love our extremely honest mechanic, i'm almost sorry he knows us this well), took Sweetie to work, and got there with 15 minutes to spare.
It was a carnival atmosphere, with live music, employees handing out leis, and lots of smiles. A few people had small children with them, and the children were in various costumes, including a very cute little elephant and a pumpkin. There were a couple of speeches, including from the mayor, and a lei cutting instead of a ribbon cutting.
Isn't it exciting? i said to once nice lady standing near me. "Yes!" she answered. "It's like we're going to be a real city now!"
Well, i'm not sure about that, i thought to myself -- we still don't have Aldi, Costco, Pottery Barn or IKEA here in the swamps, but at least we are a step closer.
The employees inside had formed a tunnel for shoppers to walk through as they cheered and high fived and cut up. We were all smiles, and even the fact that the place was so crowded it was hard to get around didn't dampen our spirits. At one point, i even got a chance to say hello to the mayor, who was standing near the coffee (you know i am going to have coffee, no matter what).
Despite the crowd, checkout was speedy and efficient, and every single employee was smiling and cheerful and ready to help. One had even pointed out to me the wine that they only sell at grand openings. Since it was a dry red, and that's Sweetie's favorite, i got him a bottle.
On Saturday i went back with Sweetie to show him the long-awaited treasure, and he was duly impressed, especially that the Two Buck Chuck, as some of their wine is nicknamed, has a shiraz. He also liked the live band outside, as the grand opening party was still going strong over two days later.
As much as i love living in the swamps, there are drawbacks, but now, with a Trader Joe's within driving distance, i wouldn't trade you for the world.
Apaturia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (a three day meeting of the clans and welcoming newcomers and children into the community; date approximate)
Betcha Festival -- Onomichi, Japan (men in costume "beat" children with bamboo whisks to prevent them getting ill in the coming year)
Bunka no hi -- Japan (Culture Day)
Cliche Day -- get them all out of your system today; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays
Cuenca Day -- Cuenca, Ecuador
Daylight Saving Time ends -- Bermuda; Canada (most areas); Cuba; Greenland (some areas); Haiti; Mexico (Baja area); Saint Pierre and Miquelon; The Bahamas; Turks and Caicos Islands; US (most areas)
Deepavali -- Hindu; Jain; Sikh
Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja -- Day of Cows and Laxmi (goddess of wealth; day three of the festival)
Hijra -- Islam (Islamic New Year Begins at the viewing of the new moon crescent, so exact time/date varies by location)
Housewives' Day -- birth anniversary of Roseanne Barr
Independence Day -- Dominica(1978); Federated States of Micronesia(1986); Panama (also called Separation Day, separating from Colombia in 1903)
Jain New Year
Let Someone Have the Last Word Day -- internet generated, probably so you will quit with the cliches
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run -- England (a race composed of only pre-1905 vehicles)
National Sleep-In Day -- begun by those who want you to spend the extra hour gained catching up on your ZZZZ's
New York City Marathon -- NY, NY, US
Parsley Scattering Season ends -- Fairy Calendar
Sandwich Day -- birth anniversary of John Montague, Fourth Earl of Sandwich and reputed inventor of the food item which bears his name; make yourself a really good one in his memory
Solar Eclipse -- a hybrid solar eclipse will be visible in the Eastern Americas, Southern Europe, and Central Africa
SOS Day -- on this date in 1906 the Second International Radio Telegraphic Conference at Berlin, Germany, proposed it as the new wireless distress signal to replace CQD (Come Quick, Danger)
St. Hubert's Day (Patron of archers, dogs, forest workers, furriers, hunters and hunting, machinists, mathemematicians, metal workers, opticians, precision instrument makers, smelters, trappers; Liege, Belgium; Saint-Hubert, Belgium; against dog bites, hydrophobia/rabies)
St. Martin de Porres' Day (Patron of African-Americans, bargers/hair stylists, inter-racial justice, hotel-keepers/innkeepers, paupers, persons of mixed race, poor people, public education, public health, public schools, race relations/racial harmony, social justice, state schools, television; Biloxi, MI, US; Peru)
St. Pirminius' Day (Patron of Monsheim, Germany; against poisoning, snake bite)
St. Winifred's Day (Patron of incest victims, martyrs; Gwytherin, Wales; Holywell, Wales; Shrewsbury, England)
Tori No Ichi -- Japan (a "rooster day" in which to wish good luck and prosperity at temple and shrine ceremonies around the country)
Tunnel Day -- NY, NY, US (anniversary of the start of the first subway tunnel in 1900)
Victory Day -- Maldives
Zero Tasking Day -- spend the extra hour gained when turning the clocks back doing nothing, just practice being
Gemma Ward, 1987
Evgeny Plushenko, 1982
Dolph Lundgren, 1959
Adam Ant, 1954
Kate Capshaw, 1953
Dennis Miller, 1953
Ken Berry, 1933
Michael Dukakis, 1933
Charles Bronson, 1921
William Cullen Bryant, 1794
Thomas Kyd, 1558
Diff'rent Strokes(TV), 1978
Good Morning America(TV), 1973
Today in History:
Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Muslim caliph, is killed by a Persian slave in Medina, 644
Christopher Columbus first sights the island of Dominica in the Caribbean Sea, 1493
The English parliament accepts the Act of Supremacy, declaring Henry VIII to be the leader of the Church of England, 1534
Great Patent is granted to Plymouth Colony, 1620
A great panic occurs in Europe over the close approach of a comet, 1679
Spain acquires Louisiana, 1762
The Bank of Montreal, Canada's oldest chartered bank, opens in Montreal, Quebec, 1817
The Times of India, the world's most widely circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper, is founded as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce, 1838
"Black Bart the Poet", stagecoach robber, commits his last robbery, leaving behind a clue that leads to his capture, 1883
J.H. Hunter patents a portable weighing scale, 1896
Chevrolet officially enters the automobile market, 1911
The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. On board is the first animal to enter orbit, a dog named Laika, 1957
NASA launches Mariner 10 toward Mercury; it would later become the first probe to reach that planet, 1973
Pervez Musharraf declares emergency rule across Pakistan, suspending the Constitution, 2007