It was a bright breezy day here in Moore County. My traveling man was home for an unexpected weekend and I celebrated by taking a Saturday off of work to enjoy it with him before our familiar trek back to the airport. We started off our leisurely Saturday with a lovely little trip to a hamlet called …Pinehurst. I have heard of it but alas I live primarily in the confines of my shop on Broad St. in Southern Pines ( all the way across town) and rarely (read - never) leave my 1 mile bubble.
Sure, I hear from my customers at checkout who regale me with stories of the outside:
Breakfast at a bakery
Aberdeen for lunch
Carthage for a festival
a parade in some far flung corner of town…
These are just words, they hold no real meaning for me as I have not witnessed that sort of freedom and frivolity…well ever.
There are no Saturdays off in retail so imagine my unease when I woke up to no alarm clock, no worries over what to wear, what shoes, do I need to wash my hair… I didn’t need to beat myself up over going into work after having one cocktail too many the night before only to be faced with a full day of work and a headache. I had not one responsibility to my name. With the whole day ahead of us and not a care in the world, my man decided he wanted to buy a belt from The Gentleman’s Corner. We crossed over through the treacherous traffic circle and arrived to find the Pinehurst alive with shoppers, outdoor eateries, and something called a… Farmer’s Market!
While my man shopped I wandered into the grassy center of town to find dozens of local farmers under tents, flower farms, jelly makers, even a lady doing a hula hoop to music. I feel like a stepped into a scene from the Gilmore Girls! I bought one of everything: honey, a pint of berries, a bouquet of flowers and if my man hadn’t shown up when he did I was this close to buying a “quarter of a cow”. I am not sure what that means entirely, but I was buzzing from the whole experience. We then crossed the street to Agoro Bakery and from there I discovered my people! It turns out other people also have retail shops! I visited my friends at Cooper & Bailey and once I determined there were safely ensconced behind the counter where they belonged we continued to mosey around town seeing and being seen. We even found folks who live in Southern Pines, we quickly ascertained they were not lost and did not need our assistance so we decided to go for a drive. Windows down, hair flowing in the breeze and The Eagles crooning, Peaceful, Easy Feeling from the console I determined this was living. Just to be clear- this is what you free birds can do every weekend!? You lucky few unencumbered by making your living from the weekend masses. In that moment, I imagined what it must be like to work a 9-5 weekday job. Holidays and weekends off and as much farmers market as your little heart could take… I felt something akin to outright jealousy.
Drunk on freedom we came home fed the koi fish, lounged outside, watched a movie and had… brace yourself… a nap. Shocking I know. I woke up rested, confused, and ill at ease. I missed my shop. I missed my co-workers. I missed the hubub. Maybe I am like one of the those characters from Shawshank Redemption who can’t make it on the outside? Still, I soldiered on and managed to enjoy a lovely meal with my man and a few friends later that evening. The next day I deposited my man at the airport steps, stress ate tacos at my usual spot and reminisced about the day before; buying flowers and beef— it all seemed but a dream. It was so fun to see how you other half live, but just for a day I wish you could see mine. Waking up the shop, turning the lights on, starting the music, saying hello to strangers and acquaintances on the street as we set out our shop sign and mannequin out for the day and then wait to welcome our first customers, catch up with my fellow workers on what they’d the night before, light our shop candle and pray no one burns themselves with it and box up our online orders from the night before if we are very lucky. It’s not a big life, but it’s the one I choose over and over again and one I am so very grateful for right here Under the Pines.