Old John Simms Senior used to come by Pete’s on Wednesday nights while his wife was at Bingo. He’d have a drink at the bar and talk with the other guys – talk about sports or whatever was on the television. It was always sports that was on or somebody would yell at Pete to change the channel.
Even after his wife, Millie, had passed away Old John would still come by the bar on Wednesdays. There wasn't any real reason for that day anymore but you just have to keep traditions, just as much as they tend to keep you.
One night he left his Stetson on the coat rack by the door as he waved good night to the other people and walked on out. Pete just left the hat up because he knew old John would be back the next week and probably walk out wearing the hat, forgetting that he hadn't actually worn it in that night. He did that a lot of times. That’s how it is with favorite places. They should places where you feel safe, just as sure as your stuff is safe to be left there, even if it’s leaving your wallet on the counter. Somebody will probably call you by name and remind you about it.
He never came back to the bar anymore, though. He had passed away that night, watching late night shows in his easy chair. Pete never took John Simms’ Stetson down off the coat rack either. Nobody touched it. It became a kind of a shrine to the old timer and somebody would shake it out if it got too dusty, but always put it right back the way it was because things shouldn't change in your favorite places.
Pete would pour a little Sam Adams into a shot glass on Wednesdays because it was John’s favorite and just leave it there, waiting for him. One of his old friends would usually drink it and say a prayer for John, but even if nobody would own up to drinking it, the little shot glass always got empty every Wednesday that it was poured.
Everyone liked to think that old John would drink it if nobody else did. Maybe he’d come by, drink that little shot glass of beer and wave good night to everyone before grabbing his hat off the rack. Maybe the hat always stayed because John just couldn't bring himself to leave. That’s how it is with favorite places: sometimes, you just don’t want to leave.