Ireland or Bust

Spending time with my dearest friends means the world to me. Yesterday, my New Hampshire friend and I had all morning together. While we knew when and where we were meeting, the rest of the day was unplanned. Having a defined starting point suited her organized personality and letting the chips fall where they may, suited mine.

We met at one of the stores that doesn’t really have anything you need but people end up spending money anyway. We were no exception. “I’ve been trying to find one just like this for what’s his name.” “My mother asked me to pick this up for her.” “My sister cooks with this but she can never find it.” “This is a great joke present.” “These are cheaper here than in the grocery store.” “I need some stocking stuffers.”

It becomes more and more random after every aisle.

“I was thinking of starting this project – with my aunt Josephine – next month – on the 17th – and this is just the cotton ball I need to glue it all together!”

The great conversation along the way is also what makes you not realize the cart is filling. Once we got to the registers, had managed to shop for everyone we knew in the Eastern hemisphere and swore to finish all the projects we’d referenced, we checked out.

Penny packed her van while I packed my trunk. I waited for her to join me, so we could go to breakfast together. She didn’t come alone though. She brought me a box of items for my antique booth. Old toys and copper items. She really is a good friend.

With that, we considered our breakfast options. We decided on the reviewed “best greasy spoon”. Greasy spoon but the best greasy spoon. It’s name reminded us of our other friend. Well, her dog. We’d dine at Poor Pierre’s diner downtown – because it reminded us of an animal? I hope Stefanie appreciates the gesture.

It was a fun place though. It made me think about my childhood and places where all the locals eat. For all I know, the guy I hit in the head when I was talking with my hands was from Montana. Either way, it was how I rationalized sitting in a vinyl booth next to a grill. There were also stools at the breakfast counter, 70% windows and it looked like where doughnuts originated. Wall signage let us know the waitress was in charge and the mug language assured me I could take her down.

After the start of some really good conversation and the end of our homefries, we headed next door to some shops. Penny gave me a tutorial in the liquor store and helped me select something for the Yankee swap. We went over to the buy out store and bought out the store…not really but that sounded good.

…So did the vintage thrift stop we had passed on the way to the diner. I asked Penny if we could double-back and go to “The Peddlar’s Daughter”. I had seen a vintage runner sled in the window and figured between the name and the window dressing, we’d have a more unique and interesting shop to explore together. We parked downtown between that and some other open storefronts. There was a little December rain falling but I assured Penny she wouldn’t melt as we walked down the street full of stores.

Or rather, pub fronts. Who knew the Peddlar’s Daughter was really a bartender?! I didn’t.

We laughed at my assumption that it was an antique store. We cried when we walked two more blocks to other stores that weren’t of any interest. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciated the artistry but didn’t have $395 for a bird house or $87 for a rubbed motivational stone. The next store was a boutique but as wet as we were starting to get, we weren’t in the mood to undress. The following corner revealed a different outfit – the Tilted Kilt Bar.

We headed back to the car and decided to drive to the far end of the road and off a few side streets. We found more pubs – the Wicked Twister, Malarkey’s and Penuche’s Ale house. If only I’d found the wine bar instead, maybe Penny wouldn’t have thought I’d brought us to Ireland.

I don’t know if Ireland has head shops but Penny wouldn’t let us go in there and had to explain why. I missed the point of that store and also missed a turn to get back to the main drag. So much not a drag, that it was lucky. At the stop sign, I was staring at The Lucky Dog thrift store. I asked Penny if we could go in. Knowing me as well as she did, she laughed and said to her driver, “What would you do if I said, No.?”

“I’d tell you I’m going anyway and I’ll be out in ten minutes.”

She came into the store with me. They told us all the money went to dog shelters. That made it easy for a pug owner and dachshund owner to at least take a look. As I found a piece of Roseville and a turkey-shaped gravy boat, I told Penny she’d never find items like this at the local department store. Again, she laughed. The one item she was holding had a WalMart sticker on the bottom.

When we checked out, they asked if we’d like to join their local raffle or come back with our dogs to get a picture with Santa. I told the owner we weren’t from Nashua. When I asked if there were any other thrift shops in the area, she said Salvation Army was just down the street. I almost fell over. So did Penny did but for different reasons.

I snorted and told her I wouldn’t put her through that. I could circle back to this neighborhood on my way home. Our time was almost up. I brought her back down Bar & Grille Avenue and into the mall for her car.

Our morning together had been unplanned and full of life and pubs. It meant the world to me.

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