So, about last Saturday...
It was cold and windy all day long, and most of the time it either rained or snowed, Everything was wet and slushy and just icky. But we went anyway, because it was Bardstown Road Aglow, dude! You gotta go!
The weather definitely kept the crowds down, which was a bummer for the stores, but not for us, since we could walk around in a lot of the smaller shops without much problem, for once. So I spent a lot of time in some places that I usually avoid because of the crowds and came away with the eternal question on my mind:
"How many trendy, vintage boutiques can one part of town support?"
I'm all for small, local business. I'm all for people following their dreams. But, seriously, there are a half dozen of these shops in a five or six block area. Sometimes, one will open, close after sic or eight months and be followed by another one.
I may be down on these stores in general because they're also the kind of places that take affordable vintage out of the secondhand market, which makes it harder for guys like me, who want to find it at affordable prices and sell it at equally affordable prices, to find good stuff at decent prices.
We got some amazing hot spiced chai at a tea shop we went in. The owner told us they were thinking on closing soon, so we could have a cup for free to help empty the pot. They had been selling it earlier.
Sometime in the past year, the messiest, most cluttered used bookstore in town apparently started to give a damn. The place was not only clean, but everything was on clearly labeled shelves and easy to find. I thought I had entered the Twilight Zone or something. They still need to vacuum, though.
I went in one store and all the staff were seated around a table playing games. No one even bothered to look up or acknowledge my presence in any whay whatsoever. I admit that I'm not the kind of shopper who likes a hovering attendant shadowing his every move, but it is at least nice to be recognized as a human being. I'm needing some supplies for the booth that I was hoping to get there. I didn't see what I needed out, and there was no one at the register to ask because everyone was playing. I left without asking anyone because I didn't think it would do any good based on what I saw. The store? it was a comic shop. Of course.
Passed someone heading down the street to go in and overheard them say "It'll be just like" another local shop (the one I have frequented most regularly in the past). I looked at Keith and said "No. At that shop they actually have staff that are there to help you."
We didn't see much street entertainment, but we did hear the bagpipers behind us. I guess the weather had something to do with that. We also saw some kind of a firebreather person too. At first I thought it was one of those outdoor space heaters exploding.
As usual, we saw the Eye of God. It was kind of odd this year. A friend of ours who went to this church passed away a few weeks ago. There's been a lot of loss in 2010. I'm totally ready for it to stop.
At one point, there were a group of kids running and playing through some of the snow that had accumulated during the day. There was a group of adults following, and one of the women yelled to the kids: "Remember what I told you about your feet. When they get wet, they get cold. And they'll never be warm again!" Let me repeat that: "They'll never be warm again!" That's a little harsh, don't you think?
Because of the weather, we didn't do as much of the whole road this year, as in the past, but I did make it into the one of the few true used bookstores left in this town. There used to be three in this one block, but one's been gone a while now. The other one is the aforementioned messy one. This one always has a great sale during December, so I try to go during Aglow and at least one more time throughout the month.
For the past five or six years, I've looked at a hardback collection of the Barbarella comic strip and put it back on the shelf. Each year, I've said "This will be the year I will buy it." And each year, I've gotten other things instead. This year? It was gone. Ah well, I couldn't have afforded it now anyway.
Our big dilemma of the night was eating. Our tradition has been to eat at a certain place before the event started, and then set off from there. It made sense, as the restaurant was toward one end of the street and we could work our way down from there. The placed burned out several months ago and moved down the road to a spot more in the middle of our route. So we started out before eating, but when we got there, we didn't want to interrupt the flow and stop. But, when we got to the end we didn't want to backtrack. We're going to have to rethink this part of the equation.
Probably the best part of the night was stopping at Kizito Cookies. Now, everyone in town knows the Cookie Lady and everyone loves her cookies. She's an institution. But, until last night, I had never had one fresh and warm out of the oven. Omigod! Imagine the best homemade chocolate chip cookie you've ever had, all warm and gooey and fresh-baked. Now multiply that by about 300. That might come close to what we had. Maybe.
It wasn't the busiest Bardstown Road Aglow we've been too, but it was certainly fun. And we're glad we went, freezing weather and all.