It’s Not A Goodbye, It’s A See You Later

As some of you may know, our neighbor and good friend Mike “Snookie” Bray passed away in January. Snookie was a daily fixture in our lives here at the store, and his presence is greatly missed.
Below you will find a piece our owner, Juliet Mackay-Smith, wrote in remembrance of Snookie for our village publication.
In true Snookie style, we will be celebrating his memory with a party! We welcome all who knew and loved Snookie to join us on his birthday, Wednesday April 11th, in the Cabin at Locke Store starting at 4:00 pm. Visitors are welcome to come prepared with a short story to share about Snookie as we gather together in remembrance.
“What’s up Snookie?”…”Nothin’ but the sky”…
With the passing of Snookie a couple of months ago, there is a distinct void in Millwood, and many are remembering his constant presence by the small exchanges that they had with him daily. One of the most memorable was when asked, “How’s it going Snookie?”, he would respond -“Halfway, I’m keepin’ it halfway“…Never one to commit himself to others, Snookie was fiercely independent- a “loner”- but he was also a generous spirit who wove himself into the fabric of our community in small and meaningful ways every day.
When I decided to set up shop in the village some 16 years ago, I could never have predicted the unlikely familial bond that so many of us at Locke Store would develop with Snookie over the years. His relationship to Millwood and the store was proprietary… he was ever- present and ever-watchful.  Although he kept his own counsel to be sure, he was also genuinely concerned with the well-being of others.  He would often inquire about family members, or offer a hand with odds and ends around the store. In particular, he truly loved the flowers, and delighted in tending them every season.  Never wanting to feel beholden to anyone, when you thanked him for helping out he would simply respond “Pay no mind…”  Snookie didn’t stand on any ceremony or hesitate to speak his mind, which was amusing at times and sometimes landed him in a heap of trouble! He also shunned formality of any kind, and was uncomfortable being called “sir” or even saying “goodbye”- he preferred to keep his ties casual and loose, explaining “That’s the way I roll…”
Depending on his mood, Snookie would share stories of  “running the road” and philosophical musings with anyone who was interested in spending time with him- his perspective on the world was a complex combination of irreverence and appreciation.  As many have noted since his passing, we are comforted by the fact that he seemed to slip away on his own terms, without undue fanfare or sympathy… and apparently without a struggle, with a smile on his face…”What’s up Snookie?”…”Nothin’ but the sky”… Godspeed my friend – we sure do miss you down here in the ‘hood’!