Last Friday was just such a day.... waking quite early, having my morning tea, greeting the latest Moonflower by the back door and then walking up the hill to the little "parade" of shops and restaurants that line both sides of the main street.
I love the variety that awaits me there — a bakery, two banks, an Italian restaurant, an Indian take-away shop, a pizza parlor, a Thai restaurant, two Chinese restaurants, a milk store, various clothing shops (including a wonderful 2nd hand consignment store), a library, a toy store, an Olive Oil & Vinegar shop, several gift shops, a breakfast cafe, a photography shop, a drugstore, a wine & spirits store, a laundromat, and a dry cleaners. What more could a girl want three blocks from her house?
I went to the bank to deposit some cash and checks. I'm at the point where I finally trust the ATM machine to accept my checks and apply them to the right account. But I just can't bring myself to stuff cash into the machine with any hope that I will ever see it or have access to it again. Call me old-fashioned. The conversation is always the same when I approach the teller:
"You know .. you can deposit all this at the ATM."
"I know." [smile]
As I hand her my humble savings with a deposit slip I wonder why she doesn't have the foresight to realize that if I and others stop coming to her, she will be out of a job. Ah well.
And then it was across the road to the drugstore, on to the bakery for something sweet to have with tea later, and then a brief bus ride further down the road to the Post Office to mail off a parcel to a friend.
As I walked home, my neighbor called to me from her window to ask if I wanted to go with her to a garden center and I countered with the suggestion that we do that and go to a job lot store. Both are barely 2 miles from the house. I arrived home from our field trip carrying a new lavender Buddleia plant, a cheery blue and white canvas pillow for my patio chair, and a bright red composition notebook. Small pleasures.
I will occasionally accompany a friend or family member to one of the big "bulk" stores to purchase butter, eggs and bacon to keep on hand—especially at the holidays—and it's fun to get lost for hours looking at all the different kinds of veggies, fruits, packaged foods and meats. But for everyday living, I dislike the huge one-stop emporiums where you can buy food, tires, clothing, books, flowers, and do your banking all in one fell swoop. I prefer the gentle meandering that comes from stopping at one shop after another, making my way down the road and watching as my carry bags swell with each purchase: a sticky bun for my afternoon tea, a bottle of Merlot for dinner, a birthday card for a family member, and a bottle of Pomegranate vinegar for a friend.
I couldn't have put it better if I tried.