Monday, March 14, 2016

Day 34 Lent

It's been a long time since I sat at the local coffee place and typed on my iPad. Places change. People change. Places disappear. People move on.

When I first moved to this small town the local coffee shop, Paul's Bakery, catered to old timers. Many were the descendants of Finnish immigrants who settled here decades ago. They spoke about a baseball league that included an all Finnish team and an avowed socialist team, " actually they were communists who followed Lenin, or maybe they followed Trotsky." The ninety year old town historian and his friends enjoyed morning coffee and a sweet most weekends and several week days. I met and interviewed a man who once played the trombone with the Army marching band, " and don't forget to mention that I worked in the mill when they made wool blankets for the soldiers."

Next door to Paul's bakery was Fay's, also owned by the same family, a small sit down breakfast and lunch place. Weekend mornings the line went out the door. I loved the pancakes.

Downtown included a music store, a jewelry store, and a women's clothing store. They disappeared and a bagel store appeared-- and only lasted a few years. Over the years I've watched several used clothes and furniture stores come and go, barber shops change hands and then disappear, a store devoted to a green philosophy opened with fanfare and then closed because going green often means more costly items. Most places I rarely miss, but there were several that disappeared because life moved on on their relevancy  in different times changed.

I loved going into the new and used CD store. Sometimes I found just the music CD I wanted -- one no longer being cut. The owner played music all day long. I often heard one of my favorite folk singers serenading the street. When it became evident that anyone could download just the songs they desired instead of purchasing CDs the number of buyers decreased. A local video store, once a crowded emporium of folks shopping around for just the right movie, ceased to be a force. The owner retired and sold his stock.

Someone who thought that people would flock to his store to eat the five varieties of hot dogs he featured every day-- found out that what you ate at the ballpark or grilled for July 4th might not be your meal several days a week. The same was true for the candy store that featured costly truffles and hand dipped strawberries. An ice cream shop also had a short life. The proprietor never took into her consideration the large ice cream institution one mile away, where cars parked in a maze like abandon on a parking lot that looked more like a grid of deep gorges than a lot for cars.

One place in town has been the same since the 1945-- it's a bar and it's been in the same family for all these years. I expect that they replaced the pool table. They also serve food.

Whenever I go down to Cambridge I spend a few moments wishing that all the bookstores reappeared-- new and used. But, at least, the poetry bookstore, first opened in 1927, still holds tight to its small footprint. There are some things that shouldn't change.


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