Since spring, I've been back and forth between my home of the last few years, northern Florida, and my home as a kid, northern Virginia. After a few more years in the South than I'd initially planned to stay, I finally started working on returning north to the comforting cold, falling leaves, and, well, seasons.

There's much to say about what I'm leaving behind (or not) in Florida, but today I'm thinking about the Publix grocery store I shopped at for basically my entire time there.

Publix has a certain fame in Jacksonville, where I lived, and no doubt elsewhere. For one, it was common to get a “Pub sub” — a sandwich with ingredients straight from the store — instead of the standard Subway or Firehouse sandwich. Before a weekend of camping or floating down the river, in one stop you could pick up your beer and a few pre-made sandwiches. It was not only convenient, but very delicious.

But most of all, the shopping experience was always pleasant there. There were two Publixes (Publices?) near me, about equidistant from my house. I always went to the larger one just down the 6-lane road from me — the road that heads away from the quaint old houses I lived among toward suburban hell, the next town over. Many times after work, the beautiful, vast meadow of asphalt in front of this Publix would fill with parked cars or idling cars waiting to park themselves in that perfect front-row spot. But once I was inside, it was a joy to shop there.

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