18 January 2010

A Christmas Eve Post in the Middle of January

I nearly forgot that this draft was sitting on my desktop. I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to chronicling the holidays and I might still get to it. But, hell, our tree and the few other decorations we set out this year came down just yesterday and found their way back up to the attic. While today is a day for reflecting on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., one during which I'd like to pay a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum, my goal for today is to get the C-7 lights off of the eaves and back upstairs where they belong. One final leaf blowing extravaganza before Spring, which can't come soon enough to suit me, will follow.

Whatever you do today,
embrace it and do your best.

'Tis the Night before Christmas...

...and all through the house it's pretty quiet. The television is broadcasting the weather forecast. Billie, snoring, is sharing her bed with Georgia, and I am contemplating not only what to write here, but tomorrow's plans as well. I suppose I could recount the day I spent shopping with Becky, but then I'd be giving away some Christmas surprises if I went into too much detail. I guess I can be mindful of that and recount the day.

We started out meeting her daughter, Carly, for breakfast at Lynn's Paradise Cafe followed by visiting Regalo, a shop two doors down that sells unusual gift items, extraordinary jewelry and handbags, some well-designed household items and some irreverent novelties. One of the latter I picked up for Thom was a yellow-plaid dish towel with the recipe for "Sh*t on a Shingle". The way this is spelled is not me being polite, it's the way it was spelled on the towel. I bursted with laughter when I saw it and immediately thought of Thom because he seems to replace his kitchen towels with an almost obsessive regularity. While there, I considered purchasing a charging station that looked like grass in a black planter. It was extremely clever, especially when compared to the myriad wooden box options sold at the likes of Target and Pottery Barn, but in the end I couldn't justify the expense. If I decide later that I want it, I'll look for it and buy it online.

From Regalo, we drove to Market Street to visit Red Tree, then Scout. Red Tree was an eclectic mix of furniture, fixtures, gifts and art, both original one-of-a-kind pieces and others of the mass-produced variety. There were some really nice things there, and a couple that I thought I could use, but in the end I exercised better judgement, saved my money and avoided having to ship things home or risk looking like the Clampetts driving back to Memphis.

Carly had to leave for a matinee performance of "A Wonderful Life," the musical adaptation of Frank Capra's film "It's a Wonderful Life." She's playing, Sam Wainwright's wife. "Yee-hawww." So when she left, Becky and I walked a few blocks to Scout. There, all bets were off. I found Christmas gifts among the unusual things (at least for me) stocked in the store. They sold fantastic smelling candles, one of which greeted us upon opening the door. It smelled of fresh pine but with a hint of a warm fire. I immediately noticed that the music playing was that which I'd heard all during the previous week on Christmas Lounge on SOMA FM. With that, I knew I was going to love this place. Scout offered handmade jewelry, including work from a friend of my brother's, Sarah Balmer, Jonathan Adler pottery, hats, gifts and unusual objets d'art. The store was a visual and sensual overload. They had great stuff in every corner and there were a couple of things that I simply couldn't resist. I truly hope Cameron believes my "find" for him as much a treasure as I do.

After Scout, we drove to St. Matthews by way of the wrong exit from I-64 onto the Watterson Expressway, another exit to Breckinridge Lane, through Dupont Circle -- the back way into Mall St. Matthews. Through the parking lot, out again and another wild turn onto Shelbyville Road landed us half-in and half-out of the left turn lane into the plaza where World Market is located after I realized the line to get into the parking lot ended just one car length from the intersection. I squeezed in as far as I could. I held back my nervous laughter upon seeing the expression on a passing man's face who hadn't been paying attention. His unpleasant surprise at seeing my right taillamp not quite in my lane seemed to pass as quickly as his Bentley.

We had to visit World Market because all three stores in Memphis closed last year. And, I need Key Lime Seasoning for our proscuitto-wrapped grilled scallops. I included the recipe, aptly named Key Lime Grilled Scallops, in this year's update of "Betwixt the Both of Us," the TasteBook cookbook I published last year as gifts to family and friends. They only had three jars of the spice left but I figure that's enough to hold us over until I can visit another World Market sometime in the future. A couple of Nesbitt's orange sodas (without high-fructose corn syrup), a stocking stuffer and two bars of soap finished my excursion "around the world."

After her show, Carly met us at "eyedea" in Butchertown. It's a consignment/antique store loaded with some fantastic furniture, lamps and art. There I found a miniature New Albany Train Station for Thom, who collects miniature architectural gems. The train station was a beautiful, triangular shaped structure that stood for decades on Vincennes Street begging to be restored and put to another use. But fire would destroy it before it's renaissance could happen and I knew that Thom was heartbroken as he listened to the news of it's demise on the radio one morning on his way to work. I also picked up two vintage bottlebrush trees with foil stars. The whole lot was just over $10!

The New Albany Train Station

From eyedea we went to Butchertown Market to visit Canoe and Work the Metal. Canoe featured Turkish clothing, rugs, huge urns and lighting among some gift items. What they sold there was beautiful, but nothing for which I'm in the market. Work the Metal sold gifts, furniture, lighting with more of an irreverent, modern approach. It occurred to me that the shops to which Becky and Carly took me were ones I don't remember seeing the likes of when I moved to Memphis from Louisville in 1986. It was great seeing such forward thinking and progress in what I once considered my sleepy hometown with tons of unrealized potential.

We finished the day at an at least new-to-me location of Bristol Bar and Grille, located at the Sheraton in Jeffersonville. As the sun set the lights of Louisville's skyline began to twinkle. Becky's husband, David, met us there and it was great sharing dinner and the evening with my former classmates and their beautiful daughter.

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