I would be the last customer, ever. But it was getting late.
Excitedly, my teenage daughter called me on her cellphone and explained how thrilling it was to take a walk around Lake Calhoun on one of the last beautiful days of November. She and her dorm buddy at the university enjoy being at the epicenter of the action, whether it be in downtown Minneapolis, Uptown or Dinkytown.
For me, solitude and peaceful endeavors are my ever-present goals. Yet after hearing from my daughter I decided to watch the sun go down on a quiet little lake near my home in the suburbs.
For some unexplained reason a sense melancholy fell over me.
As the sun slipped behind the darkened trees across the water I turned to see the historic little fishing store beckoning me to come inside. The rickety but cozy building, the size of a back-yard shed, still had a flashing "Open" sign in the window. Its owner died two years ago and relatives lovingly had taken it over.
Built in 1946, this tiny place called "Ted's" had served not only cabin owners and neighbors but curious outsiders as well. It was remarkable how many different types of products lined the shelves, from fishing lures to groceries to fun stuff like special candies and ice cream.
Walking up the wooden stairs, a light breeze hitting my face, I spotted it -- posted in red marker was a For Sale sign and a 50-percent-off-everything sign. What a sorrowful day.
This was in fact the last time this little business was open. Two boys who were buying candy gave me 50 cents to buy a small plastic fishing bobber as a memento. I chatted with the current owner, a gentle man who said business was down the last two years after "Milly," the wife of the original owner, had passed away. Her relatives had minded the store for hours on end, seven days a week, keeping memories alive. But on this day, at this hour, I, along with those two little boys who rode up on their bicycles, may have been the very last customers to visit this unique little store crammed full of goodies.
I said my goodbyes and wished the owner well, even taking a picture or two. But it was getting late and I needed to rake the last of the leaves off my front lawn.
Time passes, we move on, there is a season, turn, turn, turn.
Sharon E. Carlson lives in Andover.