Back in the day having a butcher in town was a super convenience. It still is but the trade has moved into the back offices of Costco and the major supermarket chains. Cutting meat and knowing how to use, cook, and store it can make all the difference to your menu.
We went to Howars market when I was a kid. My parents had an expense account there so we could stop by and pick up food to be added to the tab they paid monthly. Bill Butler was the man behind the butcher counter to the far left when you walked through the door. He would cut your meat, tell you how to cook it, and give you a laugh all in a short time. You paid at the old fashioned cash register on your way to the door that leads to River Road. Mr. Butler was a staple, we all knew him and followed him to his own shop when he parted from the market to form the deli that still carries his name.
The Brainey family moved in and also lived across the street from us. Mr. Brainey, a great guy with a big smile, would always talk to his customers while they were in the shop. Super nice, the market couldn’t have been handed to nicer people.
Etchie, remains to this day, a character only some of us know and which I think I can reveal to the world. You see Etchie was a fictional character we made up to mess with people when we were kids. Never real, we made those around us think he was a real person. Mr. Brainey was a favorite target and he played the game well along with us whether he knew it or not. We would walk in and he would ask, “Where’s Etchie?” Usually we would say he had to go home because his mom was calling for him but he was never around. I am convinced there has never been more time spent on a fictional character since Godot.
Harmless and homeless Etchie was our place to play without hurting anyone or ourselves. These were the free days before the internet and cellphones when you could mess with people for a laugh that didn’t hurt.
Today still, some wait for Etchie to show up.