Thursday, June 13, 2024

Renovating, Friends & Shopping…

By Vickie van Dyke

VanDykebwOne of the best aspects of renovating an old house in a new town is that you can make friends quickly – because you hire them.

And since we were determined to keep our business local, and because I suck at hammer-and-nailing but am a talented phone-caller, I immediately hired new friends.

I actually even hired an entire family.  Well, maybe not the wee kids, but it didn’t take long till I adopted the Ds.  Or did they adopt me?  Either way, we’re all pals now.  The grownups have done work for me, the kids have hung out with me, I’ve shared yoga, music, food and libations with them all and both my house and I thank them for welcoming us so warmly to the neighbourhood.

So when it was Mama D’s birthday and Papa D expressed distress as to how to properly gift her, I immediately offered my services.  Yes, I will admit to a passion for purchasing and if I could design my next career it would probably read something like singer/writer/personal shopper.  Papa D accepted my proposal, delightedly produced a crisp $100 bill, and off I went to explore Sykes.

First stop – Jennie’s Jewels, a lovely fashion and bauble boutique which had already claimed a few of my pennies (mostly because I just love that 70% off rack!).

I explained my quest, Jennie and I got right down to business and it didn’t take long to locate the perfect vest.  Faux leather, faux fur, fabulous funky fun.  And yes – 70% off!  Now we just needed a coordinating scarf.  The good news was Jennie had many colourful confections and yes, they too were on sale.  The bad news was none of them was “right”, at least to my eye.  Alas, the right one, pure silk and the perfect colour, was not on sale, and would have exceeded my budget.

I held up that lonely brown bill and said “Sorry, this is the limit” and went back to searching.  There had to be something on sale that would do.  Jennie stood silently behind the counter for a few moments and then in the softest, gentlest voice possible whispered “We’ll make it work.”

“Huh?” replied I, because A) I really am a blonde and B) I was not exactly sure to what she was referring.

“The silk scarf and the vest together.  They’re perfect.  We’ll make it work within your budget.”

I raised both eyebrows and reminded her that the final figure had to be taxes-in.  I love Mama D but this present was from her hubby, not me.

Jennie got out the calculator, fingers flew and she handed me the final bill.  $100.  Taxes-in.

I’m not sure whose smile was bigger – hers or mine.  But as I strolled down Sykes, beautifully wrapped package in hand, I thought back to the countless number of emporiums I have visited all over the world and I smiled again.  Even bigger.  Because I can tell you with the complete certainty of a veteran shopper, this kind of thing happens … only in Meaford.

Before her recent move to Meaford, Vickie van Dyke has done it all – from singing and songwriting, to writing for newspapers, to performing on radio, television and live theatre.

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