Memories are funny. They are often buried… that is, until something digs them out. When I was a kid, living in the Albany area of New York, my mom would buy hot dogs from this specific butcher shop, Helmbold’s. It’s a really old butcher shop in Troy, NY. They make the best hot dogs on the planet. I don’t know what they do to them, but they are like magic meat (insert crude joke here).

Anyway, I have young kids and they often get me thinking about my childhood. So, I have been thinking about these hot dogs lately. I looked them up online and through the power of the internet, I was able to order some up and have them at my door in two days.

They come with hot dog chili and deli mustard. So I fixed a couple up for dinner, and with my first bite, memories came rushing back. When I was 13, I moved from Upstate NY to Central Arkansas. It was, to say the least, a bit of a culture shock. When we would travel back to NY for visits, we would take a load of these hot dogs back with us and keep them in the freezer. From time-to-time we would have some on a family picnic or just hanging in the backyard.

Moving across the country when you are 13 – to a completely different culture and leaving all of your friends behind – can feel a bit lonely. I mostly felt out of place. This was before the days of Facebook or cell phones, so staying in touch with people at a distance consisted of hand-written letters and a phone call here and there.

Those hot dogs were a little piece of home that I got to take with me. They were familiar. Food and drink is comforting for us. It reminds us of good times, of a kindnesses that people did for us. My parents toted those hot dogs across the country because they wanted their kids to have something from home, not because Arkansas didn’t have hot dogs.

That bite into my dinner tonight reminded me of more than being a lonely kid in Arkansas. It reminded me of why Renegade was started. Food and drink is more than just food and drink. It’s something to gather around, enjoy together, and make memories over. It is something that hopefully becomes as integral to the memory as the achievement you were celebrating or the friends you were saying goodbye to as you set out for a new adventure.

Renegade is here to be something very real to you. To share in your life with you. And hopefully, 25 years from now when you sit down and drink a Redacted, some beautiful memory will come rushing back to you just like my silly hot dog memories.

Cheers to you, Renegade, and memories.

– Brian