Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore

Last weekend I met my sisters-in-law in a small town that I remembered as having quaint little shops that I wanted to revisit. I wanted to show them the antiques, the shabby chic, the artist studios, the tea shops, and the homemade fudge. We were excited, and reserved rooms at the historic inn.

It had been raining all week, but we didn't care. We met at 10 AM, and hoped we would be able to see all we wanted  in two days. We smiled when we checked in to our rooms. One had a 4-poster bed. All had solid doors made for skeleton keys, and the bathtubs were footed and the sinks small.  The sills were wood, and there was something pleasant in the air that transported me to my grandmother's house.

Fortunately, it seemed we were situated in the center of town, and would be able to walk everywhere. On the first corner we crossed a railroad track and went in to the Chamber of Commerce. The man gave us a detailed map. He said, "No. The train doesn't stop here anymore."

We saw handmade jewelry and impressive fused glass. We entered gift shops with the same items you find in any town. We climbed narrow stairs for the promise of a refreshing snack, but were disillusioned when the display case contained the same muffins you can buy at Sam's Club. We laughed, left, and found the little French Cafe around the corner. We laughed there, too, as we ate our crepes and croissants, and were entertained by the waiter. We told stories, and studied the map some more. "I know that shop is around here someplace," I said.

But by 4:00, we were through-- through as in Is this all there is? Have we missed something? We kept checking the guide map. I knew there were shops I had been to the last time. I knew I would recognize the one where I had bought the green and white teapot, and the one with the lace valances on its windows, and the one with all the books. But they were gone.

The three of us had a good time. It eventually rained on us, but just a little, and we jumped the puddles and ducked inside another shop.  L had a knack for finding things. C and I just kept looking for something we didn't know we needed yet.  We found a restaurant with a good view, good food, and live music, and stayed until the band went home.

But time changes things. Even though the past is always with us, it can slip away, and today is tomorrow's past. What is present today which, on some other day we will look for, want to revisit, and it be gone?

 Who would think a handmade sign in front of a bowl of eggs would be so nostalgic?

Who would think I would want to take a picture of a shelf of old labels on old cans?

 And I never knew how sad this sentence would be -- "No, the train doesn't stop here anymore."

1 comment:

  1. Wow Carol, can I ever identify with this post.

    You have such a knack at writing my heart.

    Judy Jackson