Salt Tree, Santa Rosa
When I was a kid, there was a place in the Santa Rosa Plaza known far and wide as The Disney Store. No mystery, then, when I say that they of course sold plush dolls of beloved Disney characters, poseable action figures, play sets, movies and all the rest. Just as unsurprisingly, the staff were outgoing, endlessly pleasant and notoriously helpful—which I realize may strike as odd phrasing, but it remains accurate.
As kids, we devised a game around that known dynamic within the store, and it went as follows: Simply enter the store and try to make it to the back wall, placing your palm fully against it, then exit the store again, all without being offered help by a staff member. It was easy enough when we were kids, but became tougher to do as we grew into teenagers and the tenured store associates developed pack tactics.
After all, ours was an individual sport, for what we had in numbers we lacked in cohesion, and the organization of Team Disney was commendable.
But nothing good ever lasts forever, and The Disney Store did eventually close, and in its place now resides Salt Tree, a boujee clothing store with mannequins on their tables and perfume in their vents.
We used to throw water balloons at busy traffic, joust on roller blades with plastic lightsabers and steal street signs (minor ones, nothing important), just as storefronts that used to house emblems of childhood innocence now offer a simple variety of pastel shirts.
The world changes, and we all grow up eventually.
“Anybody ask you if you needed help?” I ask my nephew, who I’m watching for the day. He’s 10.
“Nope,” he says.
“You plant that dog turd you found on the mannequin in the back like I dared you?”
“Sick. Let’s go get ice cream. Wash your hands.”
Gotta help rear the next generation, y’know? — E.D.