Friday, January 25, 2013

A Soft Spot for Hardware

I believe the affinity I have for variety and hardware stores goes back to my little girl days

Back then, (nay, I say WAY back then), a trip to Blalock's Five and Dime and the local hardware store, meant accompanying my Dad on an errand that would usually end up with me adding something to my material goods.  Even though my Dad knew how much I loved Blalock's, I believe he also loved the simple glitz of the colorful, inexpensive goods that overwhelmed the small space.

Shiny things that drew this little girl eye, were everywhere.  I remember one bountiful year, that my only birthday request, was to spend my birthday money at Blalock's.  I can still remember the topaz 'ring' that I purchased, the leather bag for my jacks, and the pencils and pens I bought that day.  I remember the smells of that divine place as if I just left there - a crazy combination of bird seed, chocolate candy, old hardwood floors and yard goods. The candy counter was just the right height for my little self to go round and round, staring at the brilliant colors of the sugary offerings.  My Dad was quite the candy aficionado, so it wasn't too difficult to talk him into some small bag of yummies.

Years later, my own young family had the good fortune to be located near a honest to goodness variety store, full of the same wonderfulness.  Lots of little hikes with my little ones to indulge ourselves in it all.  My older children will still sigh when discussing all our trips to the neighborhood variety store.  Their last visit there with our neighbors, warranted a photo opportunity.  We all mourned when the small place closed.  Such is the unfortunate fate in this large scale world.

Imagine my excitement when we relocated to our present home and discovered that the local Ben Franklin/Ace Hardware was about the closest thing to my dearly departed variety stores as I would ever find!  Fabrics, kitchen ware, paint products and fake fruit!  I was determined to call it my own.

Living In a small town, you can imagine how much we all count on our friendly Ben/Ace.  Years ago, when caring for my ailing Dad, I would just wonder around in the cornucopia like aisles, enamored with the surprises around each corner.  Some days, I just needed to be away and focus on other things.  And one thing they are good at is Other Things.  Millions of items of every price range.

In a small town, a store like this becomes kinda an anchor, a shelter in the storm.  Next to the library, schools and market, an hardware store of this variety is essential.

Imagine my delight at now, in my retirement years, to be a part of all this!  Thinking that a job there required someone in the family dying, I half heartedly applied with my limited job experience.  Imagine my delight to be called to service despite my limitations.  Imagine my delight to be absorbed into the Ben/Ace family without so much a blip.  (Well, I'm assuming, of course!)  One week into my very scary relationship with cashier duty, I was approached by the owner's daughter who said this to me, 'Now, you do understand that we are a family here, right?  You do understand that if you need anything, time off for family things etc, you are only to ask.  Please let us know that we are flexible and want to know if there is anything we can do for you.  We help each other that way.'

If only she knew how scared I was.  Not just working after a 34 year absence, but my mortal fear of messing up or causing a problem.  Or something.  I just was terrified.  Until she shared that with me.  I believed her.  After all, who could be in charge of all that loveliness not be a kindred spirit who understood how I felt?

Wouldn't my dad be tickled by this turn of events?  That the places that we had our best dates and service, I am now involved in a very real way with very real people.  He would love it.

And so do I.....

Friday, January 11, 2013

Corners of the Casa

 Many blogs have segments called 'Corners of My Home'.  I really love that peek into a person's habitat.  You can gain a lot of insight by observing where someone resides.
Ahead of time, I would like to issue an apology to my minimalist friends that might get a rash from looking through these pictures. I am a collector through and through, hence 'mama's collection'.  I like to think it goes beyond material things because I also collect people and opinions and viewpoints. 

 Since I received a dandy new camera for my(our) anniversary this year, I thought that by practicing my shooting and familiarity with the camera on my little abode, I would focus this post on the wondrous things that I have managed to collect with the help of so many of my peeps.

 If you see something that you have graciously given me or created for me, or used to own and I've lifted it, leave a comment telling about it.  Just looking through the photos, I see some of those lovely gifted and lifted things that have become so much a part of me.

 I love sharing my things as well, so if you see something that interests you, leave that comment as well!  I just might be in a sharing mood!

 Start a collection this new year.
Collect memories, good times, friends and good thoughts. 
There is never enough of that....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dawn of a New Day

Now that was some crazy three months.
In that time:
1.  Started working in retail part time. (After a 34 year hiatus.  Hmm.)
2.  Hubby retired.
3.  Hubby started new job with 180 degree shift from last job.
4.  Dealt with some health issues.  Resolved, btw.
5.  Welcomed grandgirl # 5 into the mix.
6. Celebrated 40 years together.
7. Prepared Christmas for our turn with all the spawn and their people.  And a dog.
8. Welcomed all 14 of us together in our square footage.
9. Made merry on many different levels with the giddiness of having all my babies under my roof.  A rare occurrence these days.
10.  Prepared meals, did dishes, washed clothes, made sure all the grandgirls were entertained and smiled the whole time in Mimi Delight.  (yes, I did, really...ask em.)
11.  Prepared for the weakest blizzard evah (yes, I am from northern Illlinois; we giggle at the weather that was labeled blizzard.)  Still, it had it's danger so we said good bye early to several of our people, making sure that they were safe instead of present.
12.  Celebrated the Big Two with Lil Lady two days after Christmas.
13.  Welcomed the new year with a precious 7 week old.
14.  Slowly bid them all goodbye and sighed a lot.

Today was the first day in many weeks that I have breathed deeply once again.
I was off work, cleaned like a maniac, put away all the final vestiges of Christmas, downloaded all the new photos from My New Camera (anniversary gift from Hubby!), folded bedding from all the visitors and put away for the next visits, and cooked my Hubby a nice hot dinner, just for the two of us.

I realized early today that my life has taken quite a different direction and I kinda like it.
I like that I am working again.
I like that I have a new, different type of family, 'a work family'.  Haven't had that in a while.
I like that Hubby works nearby now and comes home for lunch and is home for supper on time.
I like that my work schedule allows me  time in my sewing room.
I like that my kids are producing like rabbits.
I like that I have reached the stage of life where I care so little for the buggery things of life and embrace the important things with gusto.
I like that my hair is getting long.  Weird.
I like that if I don't get to walk, write and sew, I get twitchy.  I like that my people recognize that about me.
I like that I am bound by very little and that little is of little burden.

I like this stage of life.....

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