My Granddaddy was a grocery man.
He wore a big smile and a white butcher’s apron every day for years and years. He was never rich, but he was always happy.
My Granddaddy worked six days a week, smoked a pipe, ate two Oreos every night, and watched As the World Turns on his lunch hour with my Grandmommy.
There was no difference in the man who sat in church on Sunday and the one who stood behind the meat counter at work on Thursday.
Oh, what a fine man he was.
It’s Grandparents Day, and I’m thinking about my Granddaddy.
If my grocery man granddad were alive and could visit me in Austin today, Royal Blue Grocery is the first place I would take him.
We would put on our walking shoes, head just a few steps down the block, peruse the aisles of sundries and staples, get a good coffee to go, then walk down to the Capital to take pictures, talking all the way.
I’d hug him and I would tell him how very much I loved him. Then I know exactly how he would respond. With twinkly blue-eyes and a great big smile, Virgil Clifton Henry would say, “Well, Sugarfoot, I love you, too.”
I’m so glad there’s a Grandparents Day.
Royal Blue Has a Hometown Feel
Royal Blue Grocery isn’t really a vintage store, even though it reminds me so much of my grocery man granddad. It’s actually super trendy. Maybe it feels so homey because of the pantry-style shelving. Maybe it’s also because they carry almost every product you need if you’re headed home to cook a simple dinner.
During the hot summer weeks I spent in Elk City, Oklahoma with my grandparents in Elk City, we followed a daily routine.
Grandmommy did her chores in the morning before the house got hot. We started cooking lunch around 11:00, so it would be ready and on the table when Granddaddy pulled into the driveway at 12:05.
We could usually make it until the dishes were washed, dried and put away before Grandmommy flipped the switch to get the window unit whirring. In all the world, I doubt if there’s a better afternoon nap than one that is taken on a couch in the room where a window unit whirs, my friends.
At least that’s how I remember it.
Every afternoon at about 3;00, the black rotary telephone that sat on a small table between the wall and the far end of the sofa would ring three times. Three rings what was exactly how long it took Grandmommy to dry off her hands in the kitchen and scurry over to answer.
Caller ID was a thing of the future, and yet, we always knew it was going to be Granddaddy on the other end of the line, but Grandmommy always answered politely, on the outside chance that it was the preacher, you know.
“Hell-ooo,” she said, with a slight emphasis on the “ooo.” Pleasant, friendly, unbothered, and not an ounce of hurry in her voice.
Did she need him to bring home anything for dinner? A can of this or a bag of that?
Grocery delivery – the way to a woman’s heart.
Royal Blue is the Next Best Thing
Downtowners in big cities love to get their groceries delivered. I mean, is there anything more convenient than that, I ask you? But even with the ease of selecting items on an app and adding them to a virtual cart, it’s still easy to forget something. Butter, maybe? Baking soda?
Well, if you’re like me, and that happens to happen to you, don’t worry. Royal Blue has your back. What you forgot to order is probably sitting right now on a shelf inside this wonderful little urban grocery store.
If you need to throw together a cheese board and get a bottle of wine, just walk down to your closest Royal Blue. They’ve got all of that.
Run out of paper towels or toilet paper? Got it.
Left your earphones on the airplane? Check. Got ’em.
Need a little something sweet after enjoying Texas barbecue on Congress Avenue? Oh, man, they’ve got all kinds o’ that.
As of this writing, there are 6 Royal Blues in downtown Austin and one in Dallas.
I think the future of these amazing little stores pretty darn big. Wide open. Like the untouched space between Bandera and Big Bend. Yep. I think their are some pretty savvy explorers steering the wheels of this wagon, my friends.
Expect to see a whole lot more from Royal Blue Grocery.
Downtowners might stop in for morning Stumptown-roasted coffee and a hemp seed biscotti, then slowly enjoy it at a sidewalk table before the morning rush. Commuters who need a Royal Blue traffic detox can easily park, then log a few extra steps on their FitBits, and reward themselves with a breakfast taco – or drink their daily greens.
If you want a delicious hot sandwich on your downtown lunch hour, Royal Blue has it. Millennials make friends at work and, if they don’t want what’s being catered for lunch at the office that day (what a deal!), they head to Royal Blue, in groups of five or so.
They sure are cute, always chatting it up, walking fast in mile-high wedges and skinny jeans. The guys seem to like the Cubans and Reubens, but the girls usually go for the salads and yogurt.
Oh, my goodness, I’d like to try one of everything in this store.