I am coming to love my small town's down down. The buildings are mostly brick and coordinated, with little shop fronts and rooms above. (Typical, perhaps, but I grew up in a suburb without a "downtown," so this is new for me.) I thought from the beginning that it was "so cute," but now I try to get different places to sell my chapbook, I am walking the area more and more, starting to get to know people. I love that there are six places within a 3 block radius that support local artists: two book stores, a theater, the co-op (which will have my poetry and photos on display in March--woo hoo!), and two cafes. What a privilege to be able to walk into town and say "I'm a writer and I live in town" and get a welcome response. The owner of the Rose of Sharon Christian bookstore cleared shelf space for me on the spot. I had a pleasant 10-minute conversation with the owner of the other bookstore, Book Ends. I only wish that customers had come in during that time, that the customers who flood Wal-Mart at all hours of the day would come flooding in there. But, Main Street continues along. Soon, there will be window decorations and lights in the shapes of Santa and stockings, etc, hanging from every telephone pole. In December, we'll have our own version of Minneapolis' Holidazzle Parade, with floats and free hot chocolate in the Mabel Tainter Theater.
Here are two things I love about down town:
-Last weekend I went to the winter farmers' market (churches take turn hosting this once a month, with vendor fees going to charity) to buy local veggies, lamb, and ground flour; I stopped in for supplies and/or to inquire about selling my book at the quilt shop, the book store, the theater, and the co-op. Then I went to the library. And I was able to do it all on foot, within view of the lake most of the time. (I did, however, pass up buying 5 pounds of apples or potatoes for precisely that reason.)
-There is a sign in front of the consignment shop that reads "Hours of Intent" 10 - 7, "For Sure Hours" 10 - 5. I don't precisely remember the times, but that was what the sign says. I love it.