When I was little, running errands meant a car trip to town and running around for several hours to accomplish everything. I so love that now, running errands means putting on my tennis shoes.
Today Ben and I grabbed the clothes for the cleaners, his paycheck, my library card, and one repair-needing Frye boot, and went walking to take care of it all. First, we passed Lee’s and saw Hopey coming out. She’d been inside buying a Christmas present for her sister-in-law. We talked for a minute about our plans for the weekend, and decided we’d eat dinner together later tonight. We hugged, then Ben and I walked across the street to the bank.
Mrs. Becky, one of my mama’s dearest readers, is the teller and even though she was closing up for the day she was more than happy to deposit “Big Ben’s” check. She always gives us laminated copies of the newspaper if our names are ever mentioned. Her husband, one of the nicest guys in town, gives us good deals on tires when we need them. We told her to have a wonderful Christmas, then headed to the shoe repair shop.
We walked in and the bells that hang above his door made a cheerful clatter. As always, he was insanely busy putting new soles on boots, new handles on suitcases. Since I have a fondness for vintage boots, I’ve visited him many times over the last couple years. Today, the leather piece inside my shoe came unglued and I knew he could fix me up. He glued it back in place on the spot and refused to take our money. He said he’d see us next time. We said goodbye, and Ben took the clothes to the dry cleaners while I headed to the library across the street. Jay, the white-haired man who owns the framing shop and art gallery was standing outside his shop. “Hey girl! Where’s that Volkswagen today?”
The sweet older couple who live above the newspaper and walk their pomeranians around the neighborhood every evening were sitting in their furniture shop on Central Avenue, and they waved and mouthed, “Hey y’all!” through the glass.
I carried it to the circulation desk to check out and the sweet librarian who always helps me get the books I’ve been wanting from other libraries said, “Erin, do you know you have 1 boot?” I told her about my errands and assured her I left the other one at home intentionally. We said goodbye and dropped the boot and the book off at home.
Nece, a downtown preacher’s wife whose office is downstairs, gave us a big wave and a smile as we were heading back out for a walk. I wanted to take photos of our neighborhood at Christmastime because it’s absolutely magical.
Every house on 6th Avenue has a live Christmas tree in the front yard. My heart can’t handle this.
On our way back home, we saw Brooke and Brandon, the newlyweds, sitting on their front porch. We are having an extremely warm day for December, the kind of weather that’s perfect for porching. We talked about how Brooke’s been battling a cold, and how they’re having a chicken for dinner. We said ‘goodnight,’ and kept on toward Magnolia Street.
In our neighborhood, everyone is a friend. You can’t wish for more than that.
I’m Erin Napier, co-owner of Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman Co. with my husband, Ben. I’m an artist and he’s a craftsman and we help people moving to our town find and restore old houses on HGTV’s Home Town. In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010. I am a wife, a daughter, a homebody, a bubble bath lover, a book reader, a sentimental, stressed out, slightly obsessive southerner. Welcome!