Sunday, December 19, 2010

Strolling Main Street USA

Jim and I are fans of small towns and small businesses. We decided that strolling Main Street in our chosen hometown would be a great way to spend some time on the Saturday before Christmas. We visited with old friends, made new ones, enjoyed shopping familiar shops and discovered some new ones.

It was so much fun that I think I'm going to wander not only Main Street Hermiston, but other little Main Streets as well in the coming year. I’ll have my camera in hand and promise to share what I find.

Hermiston Drug… Don’t ever visit Hermiston without a stopping at Hermiston Drug. The lunch specials at their lunch counter are famous. It’s an old fashioned full feature drug and gift emporium staffed by some of my favorite ladies! Baby gift? HD has it. Fenton Glass? HD has it. Band instruments? HD has them. I could go on and on.

Our Place Bakery… the new kids on the block. We lunched on homemade potato soup and soft yeasty bread at Our Place. It was so good that I think my eyes rolled back in my head. I know Jim's did. The atmosphere at Our Place couldn’t be more comfortable, homey and welcoming. And did I mention that the food was SOOOOO good? Next time I'm saving calories for dessert!

Hale’s… While we didn’t lunch at Hale’s on Saturday, we have done so many times in the past and will many times in the future. We love Ford and Dana and their staff and we love their food, too!

Kickin’ It Cowgirl Boutique… just made the move to Main from around the corner. More space, more great stuff, more cool cowhides on the floor. I found a jacket there that I really, really want!

Sherrell Chevrolet… How many Main Streets have a new car dealership? Ours does! A really good one. We give gold stars to Sherrell Chev. I think that I’d look really good wearing that black jacket from Kickin’ It while driving that Camaro. Jim is laughing at me.

Branch & Wonders Bookstore… NOT what I was expecting! Two delightful ladies have purchased this former paperback book exchange and turned it into a fully stocked bookshop featuring previously owned titles. They’ve brought artisan jewelry, original paintings and other art works to the building and in the process have created a trendy and hip shop! Kudos ladies!

Andee’s Boutique, IJ Gems, Lucky Endz Gifts and Roemarks Men’s and Western Wear… This block rocks Hermiston retail. Rocks it, I tell ya’.

KC’s Art and Collectibles… It’s all about antiques and art here. Mary is usually doing important agriculture things at the ag research center so it was a happy surprise to find her minding the shop. She is one of the smartest women I know. I went away with a huge 1970s McCoy jardinière and a big smile. I always leave KC’s with a smile and usually with a treasure as well.

Women’s Fitness Studio… It’s nearly Christmas and thanks to WFS I’m more fit and less fat. This fitness studio is nonthreatening, up to date, owned and operated by a mother and daughter team who know their business and it shows.

Main Street USA is all about the folks. The folks who work hard, smile with sincerity and truly make up the backbone of our community and our country. It’s filled with more wonderful places and people. Get acquainted with them. Spend a little (or a lot) of money. Keep it alive.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Frugal… The word is often spoken in a hushed and almost reverent tone. I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. When did “frugal” become so important? When did frugal become a life goal to be obtained? When did just living a normal life, within one’s means become “frugal”?

Here’s what I suspect. I suspect that living within one’s means began to head out the door when we began to make a big deal about every single thing. Now, don’t jump to conclusions here. I LOVE events and parties and making big deals about stuff. And I’m fond of stuff. Junky stuff. Good stuff. Lots of stuff. I’m just thinking some things through here and putting my thoughts into words. Typing them on my big fancy computer. Wondering if I should replace my cell phone. Wishing I had more pairs of jeans.

While pondering frugal I’m remembering Christmas as a child. I was born in 1953, so that was a while ago. My dad, a logger usually had a good Christmas tree spotted on the way to work. I honestly don’t remember if he would bring one home to us or we would go out to cut it. Wish I did…. Anyway, the tree didn’t go up very many days before Christmas. One, because we lived in a 10’ x 50’ trailer house. Two, because the tree stand was boards so no water for that little tree. All of our decorations fit in one wooden box. Opening the Christmas Decoration Box was Christmas embodied for little kid me. We removed the same treasured ornaments every year. Sometimes the tops went missing. Mom would make a replacement hanger with a bobby pin.

Christmas had a rhythm. It was bright and shiny and intimate. It didn’t last for weeks and weeks. It was holy.

The Christmas program at church was the social highlight of my season. It was all about the wonder of God becoming one of us, heaven celebrating His grand entrance to human kind. Attempting to grasp that He indeed arrived just as one of us. We all “spoke our piece” or tried to. Christmas hymns were sung. Herman Wilkinson and other men of the congregation handed out brown paper bags filled with nuts, an orange or tangerine, a candy cane, sometimes ribbon candy. I was never excited about the oranges. Every year Mom or Dad would have to remind me that in the years gone by citrus fruit had been hard to come by and the orange in a child’s stocking was a very special treat. I still didn’t get it. I always hoped for caramel.

So, back to frugal… I’m still pondering frugal. I’m working on the importance of living within one's means, keeping a rhythm to Christmas. Keeping it bright and shiny and intimate. Most importantly keeping it holy.