Archive for October, 2010

Farewell Boneyfiddle

Friday, October 15th, 2010
Boneyfiddle Garden Shop

Boneyfiddle Garden Shop

Sometimes I really wish I was rich.  I know, everyone wishes that, but today I have an actual good reason for wishing it.  One of my favorite stores is closing

The town I live in has dried up and almost ceased to exist over the last 30 years or so. When I was a child, the downtown area had several major department stores, several shoe stores, men’s and women’s specialty stores, banks, diners, jewelry stores…it was a vibrant area with plenty to do. During that time, the town’s original business district had given way to bars, junk shops and warehouse space. Few downtown shoppers found their way to that part of town. But as industry moved overseas and jobs were lost, the department stores closed one by one, and all of the other businesses followed along. Despite efforts to revive it, our downtown is on life support and is barely clinging to a few restaurants and some shops that come and go.

Surprisingly, in the old business district, located along the river just inside the floodwall, townspeople came together and began to shine up the historic buildings, opening cute little touristy shops and restaurants. Antiques became a focus, and other unique stores filled in around them. Murals were painted on the floodwall depicting the town’s history. Flowers and trees and benches made walking the area inviting. When I friend opened a sandwich shop, I ventured down there to look around. What I found was a thriving small business community, full of unique gifts and hidden gardens, wonderful food and interesting folks.

Much as I have enjoyed the area, I guess I haven’t spent enough time and money there to help those interesting folks. I did share what I’d found with others, taking friends there for dinner or to visit the little stores occasionally. But if you added up all the money I’ve spent there in the past, it might not seem that I liked it that well, as it’s probably not more than a few hundred dollars. Not enough, on my own or with the friends I brought, to keep my favorite shop open.

So the Boneyfiddle Garden Shop will close on Friday. No more unique flower baskets. No more locally crafted pottery. No more garden rugs, birdhouses, local paintings. No more flowers on a whim. No more hidden garden! There will be a hole in the row of shops where no flowers will burst out the door, no birdcage will grace a window, no life will overflow. I won’t know where to find a quick gift. I won’t know where to take an out of town guest to show off our town.

In just a few minutes, I’ll be on my way there to sift through the last of the stock and spend a few dollars. If I were rich, maybe I’d have spent more all along. And then maybe they’d still be open.

Disconnected

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I came home from work today to find my electricity is off.  I had noticed that the traffic light a few blocks from home wasn’t working, but didn’t think anything of it until I tried to turn on my dining room light and nothing happened.  Bulbs all out in the chandelier?  Hmmm, probably not.  No lights on the printer, no display on the phone.  I deduced very cleverly that there is a neighborhood power outage.

What a treat!  The power NEVER goes off at my house for more than a minute.  After 19 ½ years in the same location, I can remember only twice when the power was off more than a minute.  Once was when my kids were very small, and a car took out a power pole a couple of blocks away.  The second time was in the middle of an ice storm.  It took over a week to restore power to much of the area.  Mine was off for two or three hours total.  I’ve also never lost water pressure during a water main break.  I live in utility heaven.

So I walked around enjoying the quiet.  You don’t realize how much noise electricity makes until it’s all turned off.  There is a wonderful stillness without that almost unheard hum of appliances and computers and charging batteries.  I made some tea (because my water heater is gas!) and, congratulating myself on having the battery charged in my laptop, I sat down to work at my computer.  I turned it on, signed in, clicked on e-mail….AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!! NO INTERNET!  I looked over at the modem—not one light lit up!  No friendly wink of worldwide information sharing!  No email!  No online Multiple Listing Service!  No bill paying!  NO FACEBOOK!!!

Maybe I could watch a movie?  Nope, TV won’t come on.  I could do laundry.  No, same problem.  I could catch up on my email.  Head shake.  Take a look at my TO DO list….which is in my email.  And my computer battery is running down fast!  WHAT WILL I DO????

I’m pretty sure I know what I WON’T do.  I won’t be moving to anyplace where the electricity goes out very often.  This visit to utility Hell is not quite two hours old, but it’s been long enough to make me sure of where I want to spend eternity.  I’m going to take a nap.  And if I should die before I wake, I hope my Heavenly mansion gets Roadrunner Turbo.