I was 11 years old when I started becoming a regular at the local bodega. I remember homie behind the counter name was Jose. A real smooth customer that use to school me on life as I ordered the turkey with American cheese, chopped lettuce on a sub roll. Light mayo and spicy mustard. Everyday like clockwork after school I was in there, for bag of chips, teenies or gum. I got a little older and the visits there consisted of condoms, laundry detergent, beer and deodorant.
Jose gave me jewels on life every time I dropped in. Whether it was pertaining to women or street politics, he spoke with supreme knowledge about the hard pavement. When it was slow, he’d let us prop crates outside the bodega and relax. First time I heard Illmatic was outside the Bodega… Funny cause the only reason I started going there was because I got caught stealing at the Mobil across the street and the owner banned me. Over a package of Now & Laters… Can you believe the nerve of dude?
Got older and never stopped giving Jose and his family my business. The loyalty of it all if you may. Cause he held me down when my ends were short. You never forget those days. But folks at the bodega understand, you’re a staple in the community just as much as the store is. My mom still goes to the Bodega for phone cards and Western Union transactions.
As the warm weather approaches it had me reflecting on those moments. Grab your crate and a couple dollars. Set up shop on your block this summer and show the local Bodega some love.