Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I like Saturdays. Not just because it's a day off, but mostly because of my son. He's three, soon to be four, and Saturdays are our day. While my wife and daughter go off to do the grocery shopping with a friend, I take my son around town. We have a set pattern that we have grown comfortable with.

First, we hit the Farmers' Market. It's a small, but diverse affair in the middle of town. Most often, I'm either looking for a good dinner vegetable or accent, or we're getting some pretty good fruit. Last week, we snagged some wonderful peaches that Mrs. Hobo used in a cobbler. Don't care for them myslef, but I have to admit that what I had was very good. There are some excellent vendors with jams, jellies, and honey, and we spend a decent amount of time wandering about.

Following that, we walk a few blocks to the local bookstore. There are two independent bookstores in town: The odd-smelling, used bookstore frequented by people who like to think they are young radicals, and the good one. I mean good. It's not a rare book shop, but the owner's hobby is tracking down anything someone asks for. A few years back, he showed me a book he'd been looking for for two years. It was a book that had been out-of-print for probably forty of fifty years, and the only edition he could find was a compact copy printed for overseas soldiers in WWII. Even so, he found it for his customer. That's what I want out of a shop. Who gives a crap about 20% off with that kind of dedication at your disposal? In any case, we browse for a while, and the youngling plays with the three shop cats. I usually buy something, just to do my part to keep the place open.

From there, it's time for lunch. I tried to alter this part of the routine once or twice, and found that such ideas do not go over well with my target audience. So, we walk another block to what is probably one of the better sandwich shops in the state. Great bread, homestyle soups, and ice cream made on the premises for their own recipes. This isn't fast food, and on a busy day we've had to wait upwards of twenty minutes for a couple of sandwiches, but it is an incredible value in food and time spent with my son. He loves this place. He loves the pickles, and the seats, and the building (which is in a "historical" part of downtown), but mostly he just likes to sit and talk. I love it,too. At the end of a long workday, listening to a small child chatter is not necessarily the most enjoyable thing in the world. On a wide-open day, where you're out together, it's the whole point.

From there, we drive down the road a bit to the comic shop, where I check my box for the week, and pick up something for the kid if his behavior has been decent (there's a high threshold on that requirement -- I think he's passed it once). From there, it's time to head home, because we've both been out walking and talking for a few hours, being father and son. We both need a nap. It's a very satisfying one, too.

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