Monday is almost always
I almost always make my Red Lentil PoweRisotto on Mondays because:
a) I usually realize I have no fresh food in fridge.
b) This dish uses leftover bits of tired carrot,onion, garlic, celery, cauli, whatever.
c) It takes one pot, no nursing, goes in cold, blitzes up creamy 30 min.
What would you do to get Marshall Field’s back?
Marshall Field’s Department Store, Chicago’s most beloved retail baby, died a slow painful death in 2006 when it was absorbed into a store from a different city that may or may not think it’s better than ours.
When the red star came marching in all over that elegant shade of green cursive writing, my heart broke.
Grief stricken, I went to that place. Not State Street, that great street.
“What could I have done differently?”I asked myself in the years afterward, as I walked through cluttered chaos in the new department store chain.
“Why did I take it for granted?” I thought, as I searched for faces that make Chicago what it is; an international city decorated with friends you grew up with in the suburbs.
“If only I had known, I would have spent my money here to keep them in business,” I posthumously promised, exiting the new store empty handed and ready for a nap.
What can we learn from this cautionary tale?
Don’t take your brick and mortar stores for granted.
Yes, you can order things online.
Yes, you can sometimes get them cheaper.
Yes, you can get them shipped right to your door.
But if you want a place to go when you are tired of looking at your two dimensional world, then consider doing at least one thing that could prevent a retelling of The Marshall Field’s Misery Memoir.
Please save a bookstore, and buy a book.
Buy a book.
From a book store.
Any book store.
I beg of you, folks.
Put your screen down.
Walk into a brick and mortar store and look up.
Look at the signs over your head.
If you don’t see your book right away, don’t rush it.
Remember when we couldn’t find things in 12 seconds?
We didn’t get hopping mad.
We didn’t tap our foot at the counter because it would be so much faster the other way.
We didn’t get red faced because we were late for….wait, what are we late for? Hmmm.
Look around. Take your time. Breathe.
While you are looking for that book by that girl about that thing, maybe you will notice something else.
Maybe you will get distracted by a Bruce Springsteen book and get a flashback to your high school math class when you doodled “Hungry Heart” on your folder.
Eventually, you will find a book, I promise.
And when you get to the checkout, the line may be slow.
It’s Christmas, remember?
Lots of folks celebrate, and that can sometimes cause a large formation of humans in the same place at the same time. It can be frustrating. But your time will come.
When you get to the cash register, I beg you to be kind to your bookseller. If you can’t muster friendliness, please try to avoid at all costs, the following line:
“Can you match the price on Amazon?”
Well, we could have a long discussion about politics and economics and history and chess.
Or I could point you to that good old Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the speech that George Bailey delivers to the folks wanting to cash out with Potter for 50 cents on the dollar…because it was cheaper “NOW”.
At that cash register, if you choose to ask your friendly, neighborhood, feverishly book loving cashier,
“Can you match Amazon’s online price?”, then please consider cooking up this imaginary scene.
Place the face of George Bailey over the bookseller’s head.
Imagine Jimmy Stewart giving you that magical speech his George Bailey gave in It’s a Wonderful Life when everyone wanted to cash out with Potter for 50 cents on the dollar. “NOW”.
I have substituted “Potter” with “Amazon” for ease of demonstration.
Day dream a little. Go on. It goes something like this.
Now listen to me, I beg of ya not to do this thing. If Amazon gets a hold of this book store there’s never gonna be another decent book sold by a person who loves books again in this town!
Amazon’s already in charge of the electronics. They’ve got a hold of the toy stores. Now they’re after us. Why? Well it’s very simple. Because we’re cutting in on their business, that’s why.
Can’t you see what’s happening here?
Amazon isn’t selling.
Amazon is buying!
Why? Because we’re panicking and they’re not, that’s why.”
Well now, I’ve said too much, folks.
But we need these book stores if only to have one brick-and-mortar store left so we don’t all have to go crawling to our screens with no one to talk to about a story we wanted to read.
In our laps.
As we turn the pages.
Of the history of our town.
Buy a book. From a bookstore.
Save your story.
You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Thank you God for classics and guts and courage and speeches and George Bailey who wasn’t a praying man but asked God to show him they way anyhow.