24 August 2009

Morsel Monday: Issue 7

A Day in the Life of Shop Girl:

For extra money, I work here once every week or two.
It's a simple, sweet little store.
I rather love it.
It keeps me in touch with people, as I'm so often alone out here in the sticks.
It's nice to work in town every once in awhile.

I park around the back of this historic building where we are located.
There are apartments above.
Many of our elderly customers lived here as children.
They come in and reminisce about the way things used to be.

Inside is utter chaos and clutter.
A lovely rambling assortment of odds and ends.
It takes awhile to open shop; we have a hundred little lamps to light,
candles to burn,
diffuser reeds to flip and signs to hang.
Cash to put in the till.
Checking phone messages.
The usual.

The light reflects off the embossed tin ceiling.
The hardwoods are original, from the late 1800s.
Exposed pipes and peeling paint somehow seem inviting in the midst of the mess.

Each morning I put out the three ladies; all dressed in yellow this week
to match our new mustard and ketchup paint theme.
I hang the welcome flag, post the sale board,
and hang the OPEN sign.
You really can't miss us when you're strolling through town.

I sit here, behind long counter.
Sip my coffee and catch up on notes left for me from earlier in the week.

I maintain and rework displays.
The windows.

We have a collection of vintage handpainted mannequins.
Right now we have them dressed in early 1900s clothing,
a tribute to our town's 100th anniversary.

Things tend to be a mix of funky and feminine.
Donna, the owner, loves fashion.
Her sense of humor is everywhere, secured in her choice of inventory.

We sell women's clothing and accessories on a consignment basis.
Slowly, as the season looks to change soon, we're beginning to take fall and winter items.
Spring and summer clothing that hasn't sold by September will go on sale,
then be donated to a Women's Crisis Center.
I handle donations once a month.

We get new items in every day from women who wish to sell their old clothing.
It really is a lovely way to recycle.
And it seems to help our local economy a bit, as it's extra money for many families.
The clothes come in by appointment.
We are booked for the rest of the year, and have appointments running well into 2010.

I spend a lot of the time on the phone confirming appointment times
and explaining how the clothing must arrive.
No stains, tears, missing buttons, busted zippers.

It seems the phone never stops ringing.

The rain moves in frequently at this time of year.
It poured the other day.
When it's not pouring rain, customers pour in instead.
One or the other it seems, always.

Bad weather meant for a slow day yesterday.
I work alone, so it was quiet.
Just music and me.
And the ringing phone!

Plenty of cars on the street.
People eating at the bakery next store and the coffee house across the way.
I love the sound of car tires on wet pavement.
I can hear the woman who lives above us stomping around in her apartment.
One day, I'm sure she will fall through the ceiling.

I lock up these back doors each day when I leave.
The worn brick is a lovely sight.
I always wonder who's walked through these doors for the hundred years before me.
This shop has been so many things in the past century.
I wonder what it will become.

I am delighted to play even such a tiny role in our town's community.
We are such a small place!
The mayor's wife, for example, was my high school teacher.
She shops here, buying used clothes.
She smiles and shops and still corrects my grammar.
I love knowing the names of the women who walk through the door.
We swap recipes.
They ask about Mason.
It's the small town atmosphere that I adore . . .
I'm happy to be a small-town shop girl.

Happy Monday everyone!!


* * * * *

Pioneer Woman Gazpacho

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
5 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup (more to taste) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (less to taste) sugar
Tabasco to taste
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Finely minced jalapeno (for those of you who love heat)
Sliced avocado
Sour cream

Grilled shrimp

In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, and a dash of salt. Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; mixture will have a nice speckled, colorful texture.

Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and half of the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. (Reserve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnish.) Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least a couple of hours; soup needs to be very cold!

Remove the soup from the fridge and stir.
Check seasonings one last time.
Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables,
a sliver of fresh avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.
Finally, place a grilled shrimp on the top and serve with grilled slices of bread.

Recipe courtesy of http://thepioneerwoman.com/


  1. Good morning JJ,
    What a delightful morsel! And you do live in a beautiful little town, even though I imagine that you get a bit too much rain. I like the store, I love the desk (as I am still searching for one). What is the store address and how far to Chapel Hill. We have friends there that I should send out to visit you.
    Thank you for the recipe...


  2. I just LOVE reading all of your ties to your own history and where you live!! It all amazes me and makes me realize how, I too, love old things and am in awe when I hear of the stories that they entail.
    PS-Now I want to go visit that store! :)

  3. Aw, I love this post!!
    All of the photos of the shop are so cool.
    Moving to this small town I am in now was major culture shock for me at first,
    having to sleep without the sounds of ambulances and drunken lover quarrels in the street.
    Now I love it though!!
    I want to come to your sweet little town!

  4. Aw. I wish I could pop in for a visit!

  5. Great post! We will have to check it out when we are in the area. Love it! xoxo

  6. Perhaps I could join Corinna and we could all go and bring you a muffin or scone from the bakery and catch up. I bet we could talk for years :)

  7. a yummy morsel! I miss my days of being a shop girl & chatting up the little 'ol bitties! Looks like fun!

  8. Oh darling, I missed this post yesterday, but loving it for today! I want to come and shop in your store...it is my kind of place! It would be a little bit of a commute but hey....you never know. Thank you for sharing your day...I enjoyed browsing the story with you. I just did the same this with a cyber friend...took her through my house, it was fun, though my husband thought it was a strage thing to do...but my friend loved it!
    It is the everyday things in life that really are so special and reflective of who we are.
    Thanks for the visit!
    Love from Canada

  9. That is such a sweet little store. I'll bet it's great fun working there, though I'd spend all day looking & rummaging through every little shelf & bin, looking for treaures. I've always wanted to take a little trip down there because it is such a pretty little place, maybe one day I'll make it there.


  10. Wow! Your designs are exquisite and your photos are interesting and colorful! What a really neat blog, Rosy.