My wife once joked that while most wives can find their missing husbands in a bar room, hers is at Pop’s Auto Parts!
Guilty as charged ; And from that point forward, between the two of us, Pop’s Auto Parts became known simply as, “The Bar”.
I’ve been messing with cars since I was a kid, and like most Hot Rodders, I always need something from an auto parts store, and typically, any store will do.
But that all changed for me when I met the owner of my local NAPA store, Eddie ‘Pop’ Langlois.
Sometimes I’d go to Pop’s looking for the most insignificant item, yet there I’d be 3 hours later, bellied up to the counter (bar) bench racing, and swapping stories with Pop about everything from Hot Rods to local politics.
Other times, we’d spend hours looking through boxes for microscopic carburetor parts, or working on a mechanical problem that most would sooner set on fire.
Pop was a skilled mechanic to be sure, better than most, but he also had a combination of personality and character traits that was exceedingly rare:
He was kind, thoughtful, extremely smart and knowledgeable, yet seemingly incapable of condescension.
Reflecting on Pop’s recent passing, it occurred to me that through the years, my ritualistic trips to Pop’s became less about auto parts, and more about friendship.
So while my memories of Pop are filled with good times, Saturday’s around our house will never be quite the same without the inevitable sound of me yelling, “Baby, I’m goin’ to The Bar!”, followed by the roar of a header exhausted small block engine.
I have no idea what will become of the building that was once Pop’s Auto Parts, but as long as it’s there, if you see one of my cars in the parking lot, you can be sure that I’m not searching for an auto part, but just visiting an old friend.