Sunday, August 7, 2016

Happy birthday, Slider Inn

Over the weekend, the Slider Inn, a bar that has generated more stories in my life than any other, turned five.

My first visit to Slider was September 1, 2011, mere weeks after it opened, and I know the date because I wrote about it in my daily journal (where I mislabeled it as "Sliders"):

Stayed late [after the Breakaway run] to help with the Runner of the Month profile. Then Sliders with a group. Also got some new shoes.

The following week (by which point I'd sorted out the name), I got my first taste of what could happen there if I let the night rule me instead of the other way around:

3.6 miles --> beautiful weather and a 9:24 pace. Then...what happened?! Got home at, like, 2:00. DRUNK. Slider Inn.

The saying at Breakaway was “the best nights happen there and the worst nights happen there,” and true to that, Slider saw me through some really good times and some really, really bad ones. Even more so than my best races, my favorite Breakaway memories primarily come from the Slider Inn, with the parties and the people and the feelings of acceptance and home that greeted me during some stressful and painful years.

Those years and those memories were the product of those who worked there and drank there and the life that I was living, and it will never be the same, and that's okay because it's good to evolve.

But sometimes I miss it. And I know it's not just me. My cameo at the 5-year anniversary party was brief, but one of the patrons I talked to lamented that "things had changed." And he was right. Five years may not seem like a lot, but in the life of a bar, and of a person, it can be.

Today, I'm glad I'm here, I'm glad I'm the person I am, I'm thankful for the experiences I've had that have shaped me.

And I'm thankful that not far away from me is a place where I have had WAY too much to drink, where I have made really questionable life decisions, where I have cried, where I have laughed, where I have enjoyed Jameson slushies and Tiki Tuesdays, and where I hope to the Lord Jesus that I have progressed past the worst of it, because everyone should have a safe place where they can act like a damn idiot, and then take what they need from there, and grow.

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