As most of you know I work for the cutest little fabric shop in Michigan. Thus far I have been blogger extraordinaire, social media coordinator, and website girl. But soon, I get to be part of the actual shop. Small Business Saturday is nearly upon us and my dear boss wants me to work that day with customers! I am both nervous and excited. Mostly I am excited and probably because it reminds me of my grammy’s shop so much.
I have moved a lot (I don’t see this as a bad thing just a different thing then most) and the one constant all growing up was my Grammy and Papa’s farm. A huge yard to play in, barns, a cat and of course Grammy’s Antiques shop. I grew up in that shop and I miss that shop. Every year at Christmas time Grammy had the Christmas Open House (this was before Small Business Saturday was a thing) and all her dealers came, and all her daughters came, and many of her grandchildren came, and all the dealers husbands came, all to help. This was the most anticipated event of Kempton’s Country Classics all year.
I wish I could properly describe the energy to you. The store filled with old fashioned things decorated with pine boughs and trees. All her customers, most of whom have been coming for years and know us by name. The cousins running from dealer’s booth to the sales desk with merchandise. The cookies and warm cider. The dealers’ husbands sneaking into the house to check the score of the football game. My mom and Aunts writing up receipts as quickly as possible. Lunch in the house for the helpers and dealers, warm soup and crackers and cheese; coordinated and watched over by my uncles wife. I wish I could really capture the festive feel, all the people running two and fro, this hum of chatter and excitement. Suffice it to say there are still customers who tell my Grammy that they miss that Christmas Open House, I think for a lot of people it was the start of their season.
And then there was me. My job at the Christmas open house was to stand outside, in the sometimes freezing weather, and play Christmas carols on my trumpet. Every year that’s what I did, even after I was married and until Grammy retired. I’m not that good, I’m not that bad either, but for some reason or other people loved it. I would play and play until my lips were completely numb or my ears were about to freeze off. Then I’d go into the house and chat with the husbands, pretending I knew something about the game, shyly taking their compliments on my playing. Then I’d go and play some more until my lips felt like they would fall off. And I would go into the shops and drink some cider while chatting with dealers and telling them how school was. Then I’d play some more this time making a few more mistakes then normal because no amount of practice can get you ready for constant playing. I would do that all day, and I loved it. I loved that people liked it; they found it charming. I loved that my Grammy loved to hear me play (so much so that she bought me my Bach Strat, which is a different story, I suppose), and I loved to be part of this big, bright, Christmasy thing.
One year my sister played trombone with me, so we had a sort of duet going and that was my favorite year. And, one year Ranger was a puppy and came with me, and everyone loved him, and my sister’s Toy Fox Terrier was bigger then him and kept pinning him to the ground. There are so many years I don’t remember them all individually, but I remember how I loved it and how it made me feel and I miss it so much.
That’s why I’m excited to be part of Small Business Saturday because I know it will capture a little of that. Not all of it, that would be impossible because so much of that was my Grammy, but I can be part of someone else’s warm, loud, Christmas business thing and I can’t wait.