Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Way It Should Be

The town we live near is so small it's only three blocks long. In one of the old commercial buildings that line the street sits my favorite antique shop. The lower floors are well organized and nicely displayed. The upstairs has a bunch of stuff just piled everywhere. I think the hunt is part of why I like it so much.

This isn't a high traffic antique store, but there's always something new. I found this scrappy 1800s hand pieced quilt top yesterday. It's in remarkable condition and you wouldn't even believe how little I paid for it. I have big plans to finish it. By hand. You should check back in a couple of years and see if I have it done.


But it's not the quilt that I wanted to tell you about. Nope. It's the proprietor of that fine shop. Lenard is in his nineties but he runs a tight ship. He can and will tell you every thing you ever wanted to know about any piece in the store and a lot more you could have lived without. He can also tell you more than you wanted to know about this small town and all those living near it. He's a real character.

Lenard expects you to bargain with him. He'll ask you what the price is, his eyes aren't what they used to be. You tell him and then he tells you what he'll take for it. If that's acceptable to you he then hands you the receipt book so you can write your own receipt. Then if you can't figure out the tax, he'll hand you a calculator. All the while bending your ear with some tall tale. If you pay in cash and need change you'd best not be in a hurry. I usually just tell him to keep the change.

After living in a city for a few years where people barely make eye contact, it's nice to come back to small town life. If all the world could be a small town, it would be a better place.

10 comments:

Sara said...

That is beautiful! How i would love to come across something like that!

Sandy said...

There is nothing, indeed, like a small town. Sigh.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I covet your quilt top. No, coveting is a sin. I want your quilt top. Oops, I think want = covet. Darn. I love your quilt top and if I knew where you lived I'd be arm wrestling you for it! Blessings, marlene

Jayne said...

"If all the world was a small town..." Amen, sister! And I just love that quilt top--even though when I first read your post I thought you said it was "crappy" not "scrappy" and I wondered why you bought it if it's crappy. Duh.

Renee said...

Oh - I so agree. I hated the small town I grew up in and now I realize how lucky I was to grow up there. I wish I could give that lifestyle to my kids.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story. All of them...I need to contact that Engineer of yours to build me some things. Can I have his number?

fred said...

Fantastic story - and you tell it well. I imagined being in this shop, with the old man in his nineties, chewing my ear off. There's something awesome about old folks who are still active, still running business, still... being. So often you meet people in their nineties and they're confined to beds, in nursing homes, or just too tired to live. But on occasion you're blessed to meet someone to imitate, someone who's still got life in them, and would rather die than just sit around. What a great life, to be that old and still doing something nice.

Suzette said...

I once had an experience very similar to yours. The memory of the little small-town shop and its sweet proprietor are treasures. I also came away with a hand-pieced quilt top. It took me something like 3 years to hand-quilt it...but I did. And now it's one of my favorite things. I hope you cherish yours, too. I love the "mistake" in it, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Loved the quilt top next time you stop by I'll show you some from my Mother & my Aunt pieced by hand.Of course they are in my pouting room closet. Which is storing the
"stuff" from the "Clint Eastwood" room. May be finished by Christmas.
Love Ya
ME

Taryn said...

Lucky you to get a chance to hear Lenard's stories. It's almost a crime that you got to walk out with a fabulous quilt top, too. By the way, it's been two years since your post...is it quilted?