Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Country Store

My workshop is in one half of my building, on our farm, the store is on the other side.
I storekeep during my regular open hours Wed - Sat, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I'm also usually open on Sundays, from 12 -4. I try to weave and work on other projects when there aren't customers. I should be getting the store ready for the coming Christmas season, but it still seems far off.

People travel through here in the summer, and it is often a busy time in the store, despite the economic decline, or, the not-so-great-Depression, as I call it.

I don't know who will come in to the store on any day, and I like that. To think that when we first moved out to the country, many years ago, I thought I was a recluse. I wanted to live at the end of a road in complete seclusion. What a surprise to realize that I really do like people, and having a store lets me meet so many different ones. An old friend may stop by, or someone I've never met before. It might be someone from Japan. It might be another artist, or weaver. It might be someone lost, looking for directions, or someone who lived in Avalanche many years ago. Sometimes it is someone who likes to stop in to visit me each summer. Sometimes it is Barb from Dell with some fresh eggs to sell me. Yes!

A little while ago a family of grown up sisters and their brother visited. They talked and laughed. They were enjoying each other's company so much, and I felt lucky to be included in their good time. Before they left, they asked if I'd like to hear them sing. I said, Yes, I would. They stood close together, and sang then, in beautiful 4 part harmony, a grace that their father had composed. Was it in Norwegian? Their beautiful voices filled my store. It was an amazing grace, a sudden beautiful thing they created, which I will never forget, wretch that I am.

The day clouded over. I was putting fabrics away downstairs in my sewing room when the door bell jingled again. It was almost time to close the store, and already raining outside, and quite dark. There, inside my door, stood a man in a dripping wet poncho, with a wet dripping brimmed hat, clutching a damp, canvas bundle. He wondered if I sold felt, or canvas for buggy tops. There was the smell of straw, and manure, and horses clinging to him. I said," No, but maybe the Amish carriage shop two miles up on the ridge would have some pieces." I thought he might be an Amish man, but looking at his feet, saw he was wearing modern sandals, and cargo pants. He decided to buy a chocolate bar, and then left in the rain. I took the open sign out of the door, and looked out to see him starting to walk through the rain up the road, with a little donkey and a cart along side. I think he was a vagabond.


Brittany | the Home Ground said...

I love hearing about your store, Susan. That poor vegabond in the rain. And all of the siblings sound like awesome people!

Susan said...

My customers are a fascinating variety of people. Who'd think they'd find their way to Avalanche (not on the beaten path, believe me).