"There's a bounce in my step. I'm walking on the fronts of my feet again. Not so much drag ass." Herbert and his wife, Camilia, strolled the familiar sidewalk of their town. A town that was growing out its seams to accommodate the new gentry -- city dwellers had discovered its quaint and once rural sensitivities. Half a dozen long time businesses had closed just this last year. Among them The Eggplant, a favorite Mediterranean cafe run by the Capella Brothers; The Garden Shop where Camilia's cats loved to sun themselves off the back porch; and Pockets and Patches a store that sold sensible cottons, sensibly-priced, and often Made in USA. All three businesses sold either because their owners were offered deals they couldn't turn down or found the rent too steep to keep covering on a mostly tourist trade. A trendier restaurant, an oyster bar, and outfitters to costume the rich who commuted via their small-engine planes were already replacing the old stand-bys.
"I noticed those women checking you out," she teased.
"Must have seen me on that documentary, ha?" Herbert squinted, blushing under the three-day old growth of silver beard, at the thought of the film. It was his five or ten seconds of fame on the silver screen, and it seemed every woman in town had seen him talking about the role of volunteers. In a community firmly based in non-profit organizing, the issue of volunteers -- of which Herbert was one -- was one of those balancing acts. An act which was in his experience sourly off kilter. As he tried on this new name, Herbert of Clay Banks was as much weighing his feelings about the way people and organizations actually worked together. Or, as he liked to observe, "Are they fishin' for themselves alone?"
Camilia had her own opinions about why women, of all ages, checked out her husband. And as for non-profit and volunteers she would keep her hands busy with stitching while the meddler found his new groove. For the time being it was enough to know he was feeling his mojo rising. Camilia was a shop keeper herself. Her fashions made from recovered drapery and natural fiber curtains, Drappz, were hand sewn and tailored right there in Salish. Come this Spring Drappz would celebrate its twelfth anniversary. If they stayed.
It continues ...