I grew up in a small Midwest town located along a tributary of the Mississippi river in the 60s. As a kid I’d ride my bike to baseball practice during the summer and stop by the drug store soda fountain with my teammates afterwards for a root beer float. My parents were never really concerned about where I was or who I was with because in a small town everybody knew everyone. It was like having a few hundred sets of parents. Life was pretty simple back then with few choices to challenge the decision making process. A small town was lucky if they had more than one gas station, grocery store or tavern. The choice of which gas station or grocery store to use was based upon the relationship you had with the owner.
And yes, back then you could still put purchases on your tab. Those were the good old days.
Every now and then I start to feel a little nostalgic and have a desire to relive my youth. The most recent was when a Maid Rite opened in my neighborhood shopping center. Memories came back of my high school days hanging out after football practice with my friends, sporting our letter jackets to show off to the girls, and making small talk while we consumed Maid Rite burgers, french-fries and a shake. When it comes to dinners, the Maid Rite Dinner is a Midwest tradition. The East Coast had their delis but we had Maid Rite. The burger was simply seasoned ground beef sloped onto a bun which was then wrapped in wax paper. It took a real knack to eat a Maid Rite without having all the loose beef fall onto the table or your lap. Those were the good old days.
I decided to take my daughter on one of our Dad-Daughter nights out to the Maid Rite so I could introduce her to a piece of my past and to relive a few moments from a time when my waist was small than my chest. The dinner was packed with people of all ages but there were quite a few aging baby boomers like myself. We place our order at the counter and then found a booth along the wall where we waited with anticipation for our order to arrive. Looking around at the décor the
place was definitely Midwest but too fresh and clean, not like the tired old dinner of my youth. I was feeling a little disappointed but I prevailed, thinking that the first mouthwatering bit of my Maid Rite would take me back in time.
When the burgers were finally dropped off at our table my daughter open the wrapped burger and ask me how she was supposed to eat it. I gave her quick instructions on the technique and watched with amusement as the loose hamburger feel all over the table. I than sank my teeth into my Maid Rite, it was good but not the epiphany that I’d hoped for. Disappointed, we left and my daughter commented on how much she enjoyed the experience and that she might go back
with her friends for lunch someday. I was pleased that the experience had been something special for her and perhaps her own memory of the good old days.
Thinking about the experience on my drive to work I noted how a lot of things have changed over my lifetime. Certainly in my years in the real estate business I’ve seen a lot of changes. Most of the changes have made it more complicated to do business. Contracts have gotten longer, there are more rules and regulations to follow and development project have gone from months to years. While I long for the good old days I’ve adapted to the present, embracing new technology. There is one thing that hasn’t changed for me, like during the days of my youth, I base my business on building relationships and firmly believe that it those relationships that have allowed my business to grow during a tough economy. Most
certainly today will be tomorrows good old days.