My friend April has opened up shop in an old country store in Bem, Missouri.
She sells antiques, handmade soap, local honey and my sister’s pottery. She has a knack for putting together displays, draping burlap across shelves, whitewashing old bureaus and generally making things look like pictures in a home magazine.
She raises sheep and cows and ducks and chickens. She can pull herself together in a simple white dress, put on some lipstick and select wines and cheeses from the menu at a nice restaurant and then go rock out at an Eddie Vedder concert.
I think she is the epitome of coolness.
When we visit the store my kids play with April’s daughter, balancing ostrich feathers, which they’ve pulled from a vase, on their noses and running from room to room, their foot steps echoing off the wooden floors.
Up until a few months ago the old store had been sitting vacant, full of memories, waiting for someone with some know-how to come and give it some attention. Waiting for someone to start something. Now it is full of laughter and taking on again a life of its own.
People come in to look around. They walk through the rooms and admire the ceiling which has been opened to expose the rafters. They have one of April’s cinnamon rolls and then they have another. They buy squares of lavender soap and jars of honey.
They bring their stories, their memories triggered by the sight of the long counter and the bottles of soda displayed in white washpans. They used to come here as kids and drink cool soda pops in the shade of front porch.