Got back to Baker City in the middle of the night from a whirlwind buying trip to NYC with a mind full of beautiful images. I didn't take a single photo, even though my hotel was just blocks from the Chrysler Building which I think is one of the most beautiful buildings in America! I've taken hundreds of pics of it and yet it always seems like "I've never seen it from that angle" or "the light is just so perfect" and so it's become an obsession of sorts.
The weather was cold- but with cloudless blue skies and brilliant sun every day- it was absolutley gorgeous in Manhattan! Every corner turned presented a new sparkling image that I captured in my minds eye.
Somehow it seemed a little sweeter that way.
As I crossed the Harlem and then the East River on my way to the airport, I looked back at all the shimmering towers of one of the most magical cities I've ever seen, knowing that I was leaving with only memories and no proof to share other than the telling....
I liked the thought.
Today was back to work and the first item I tackled (after a delicious "so glad to be back to the best Coffee Latte") was the 100 e-mails. I worked through one-by-one until I opened a message with an unfamiliar nickname. One of the sons of my Guido, the man who inspired nearly everything that "works" about BELLA, had written to share with me that Guido was gone.
Guido had been on my mind for the past several weeks and I suppose this one of the hard parts of staring down 50... my heroes are older and some of them are more fragile than others.
His words were very touching, he recognized how much his dad had mattered to me (and so many others) in his role as the owner of Checkerboard Grocery for 55 years and a dedicated public servant.
Guido was my superhero.
He owned the most perfect little market. He talked to me like my opinions mattered, even when I was 8. He recognized me when I walked into his store after a 30 year absence and challenged me a couple of years later to keep BELLA open 7 days a week, "so that the community will trust you and know that they can count on you".
Guido Rachiele, son of Salvatore and Rosina, the grocer who caught my father waxing his windows in the early 50's and held my hand during the 4th of July Parade in Price, Utah in the mid-60's; a man who could pop a top off of a Coke bottle and make me feel like the most important person in the world at ten and even at 40-something had lived 84 very full years and touched many lives including mine.
Rest in Peace Guido. You were "bigger than a Kennedy"to me as a child and still feel like my guardian angel/business coach. Your presence and influence are a visceral part of the little store called BELLA and the checkboard will always be here as an homage to you! You will always be my superhero.