Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bye Bye Bill's

My brother, who has only called me once EVER and that was a drunk dial a few weeks ago, called me around 7:30 last night. That's 9:30 in Maine, so I was somewhat worried. It didn't start off well. He said he had some really bad news. My stomach clenched, as all of my family is in our small town there. He asked a couple times if I was ready. I said yes.

"Bill's has closed."

While not quite as bad as a family member passing away, Bill's Sandwich Shop (or Bill's Pizza) in Yarmouth, ME, has been an icon for our family for over 30 years. My first memory of it was during a Sunday drive decades ago. I'm not sure if I was even 10 yet. We saw a small sandwich shop along the road and stopped in. All I remember is one of us ordered a crabmeat rolls and instead of the roll being in a hotdog bun, it was on a full-sized italian roll. Pure crabmeat, mayo, salt and pepper, lay atop some lettuce on the roll. And it was beyond over-stuffed. We are all in awe. It was like unwrapping a bar of gold. Trumpets sounded, a heavenly light shone, and all of us were awestruck. Picture Ralphie getting his air rifle for Christmas. From that day, Bill's was a frequent stop whenever we went drove by on the highway. We'd go out of our way to stop in if we were even remotely near Freeport. Dad would drive to Portland for something and he bring home a couple crabmeat rolls so we could share. No place we ever found had anything to compare with Bill's.

But their crabmeat roll wasn't all they had. My brother doesn't eat seafood and he'd always get a Zappa. Cappicola, cheese, and spicy hot mustard. Bill's was one of those shops that has dozens of custom subs with wacky names. I don't know of any place like it in Phoenix or most places I've lived. During college, I'd ALWAYS grab a sandwich on my way by, be it coming or going. When college friends came up for the weekend with me, we'd stop in. To this day, some of them still ask about Bill's. My answer had always been the same: "They are still there and the crabmeat rolls are as good as ever."

Sadly, I now need a new answer.

1 comment:

njskog said...

Y'all don't write enough!!!