I have never been to a mall on the day after Thanksgiving. I’ve just never understood the need to battle for a sale item. I detest crowds. So the concept of Shop Small suits my kind of thinking. In our household, we try to support local business owners every day of the year.
On this Black Friday we wanted to drive backroads with the camera and maybe find an antique shop or two. One goal of photography was some country Christmas scenes. The treasure of the day was a church decorated with Christmas wreaths on every window. And, this church has a chimney. I’ve never seen a church with a chimney. An old cemetery surrounded by a white picket fence is well maintained by a local boy scout troop.
Following a spontaneous zigzag route from one small town to another, we drove though rolling hills we’d never seen. Beautiful farmland, horses enjoying the glorious fall day, a friendly gentleman in an otherwise sleepy town, made it seem like a bit of time travel.
We made one stop in a feed & seed / quilt shop near Covington. Though the business lost a bit of its charm when it moved out of the downtown location, their old time merchandise is still appealing. As I paid for a fat quarter and spool of thread, the clerk recognized the bank name on my credit card and shared pleasant experiences she had there. Somehow I don’t think I would have had that sort of exchange in a mall shopping experience on Friday.
We had lunch at our favorite locally owned restaurant in Monroe, GA, across the street from this pocket park. The focus of this park is an old bank vault (left when the downburst of ’93 destroyed the building). Two treasures here: the safe itself and the fact that the town preserved it and made a park there.
Visits to a few antique stores generated minimal purchases. The highlight for me was packages of old bias tape and rickrack, all cotton, all unopened, bearing original $.19 price tags. I could imagine the vendor thinking, “nobody will want this old stuff.” And, I’m thinking, “WOW. What fun is this!” The wicker item had a tag saying “lampshade,” but I thought “bee skep”.
Yes, we did some shopping on Black Friday. But we didn’t elbow anyone out of the way, never stood in line, didn’t get frustrated, and had no traffic snarls to navigate. Back roads and small businesses, that’s the way to do it.
All photography (except bias tape) by Jim Gilreath.