Visiting the waters of greatness

Perhaps it’s the mood that I’m in right now, relating to other stuff going on in my life, but as I was considering where to visit for food today I found myself walking a forgotten path. For many years my friend Michael and I would meet at Great Waters Brewing Company at least once a week for lunch. It was our regular tradition, and as soon as the patio opened up in the Spring you would find us there, trying to push our lunch breaks just a few moments longer.

As the years went on, and I moved away from jobs in Saint Paul, our meetups became fewer and farther apart. When talking last week, I realized I actually hadn’t been there in at least a year. As I approached that side of downtown, I decided to walk over and take a seat at the bar and think about old times.

One of the things about Great Waters is that they were the first brewpubs in the area, and really one of the only games in downtown. As downtown Saint Paul was going through its decline and revival, Great Waters stuck it out. Now, there are at least a dozen great places to eat within walking distance from my office. Add to this, the fact that Great Waters doesn’t change it’s food menu, and I found my visits being less frequent.

Yet, today when I looked at the menu I wasn’t struck by how little it had changed, but felt a sense of relief. It was the same as it has been for years, and in some ways it felt like coming home. Even some of the staff was the same (a testament to their retention abilities?). I ordered my food and enjoyed my drink and simply absorbed something familiar.

Maybe nostalgia is a pointless, fleeting feeling, but today it’s what I needed. It’s nice to know that the familiar was there, waiting for me. Maybe it’s OK that some things don’t change. The pace of modern life means that we are surrounded by change all the time, and we’ve been conditioned to crave it. I seek out new breweries with a passion, collecting more and more different tastes. Yet, what we sometimes need is a home base; a place where we aren’t surprised, but comforted.

Today was that day of comfort, and I appreciate that Great Waters was still there, ready to make me feel peace in an ever changing world.

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