15 October 2008

What you don't usually see in Eureka, IL

Today, we got up, got dressed and drove to school, since it was sort of drizzling and we were really, really late. I dropped off Annalivia at preschool and Daniel and I went to Mika's, our local fabulous coffeehouse for a juice box (Daniel), a cup of strong coffee (me), and a large piece of cinnamon swirl coffeecake (both of us, but more Daniel than me, unbelieveably). When we emerged from Mika's at 9:15 a.m., there were about 7 ladies standing in front of the Et Cetera Shoppe.
For those who don't know, the Et Cetera Shoppe is a volunteer-run thrift shop, the proceeds of which are donated to the Mennonite Central Committee. It's a great shop, housed in the old Ben Franklin, and one can go there and find all sorts of treasures -- the sort one needs and doesn't need at all. In fact, one can go almost everyday and spend less than a dollar and come away with something. All of the stuff inside is donated and though some of it can be quite nice, most of it is... used. Like I said, it's a great shop, but not exactly the sort of place one would be waiting to get into.
BUT, this morning, there was this group of ladies standing in front of the Et Cetera Shoppe. I thought they were some church group, maybe, who didn't realize that the Et Cetera Shoppe didn't open until 10. (Apparently, Mennonite church groups who go on trips sometimes stop at the Et Cetera Shoppe -- it's a bit of an attraction, I guess -- or so says a manager). I went into the Hallmark Store across the street from Mika's, next door to the Et Cetera Shoppe and when we came out of there, there were another 15 women in front of Et Cetera. We came back home to get my wallet, returned to the Hallmark Store and by that time, there were about 40 women standing outside of the Et Cetera Shoppe. It was about 9:40 a.m.
This is not the sort of thing one sees in Eureka, IL. There is not really anything that happens in this town that encourages line-standing. Maybe when Reagan came to town back in the 80's, there were a few lines. But, this is not normal for us, especially on a drizzly autumn morning. And my curiousity was piqued.
So, I called my grandparents, knowing that my grandmother would know what was up. She didn't answer the phone and my grandfather didn't know. And rather than make the cardiac patient walk up the stairs to get Grammy, I decided to figure it out myself. So I asked in the Hallmark store when I went to pay for my cards. They didn't know either. About that time, it started to rain and the Et Cetera Shoppe opened letting in the 50-some women outside, so I couldn't ask them. Finally, after pulling in our driveway and getting the garbage cans in, I saw a friend pushing children in a stroller in the rain. "We're on our way to Et Cetera!" she called. I asked her what was going on.
Turns out the Christmas Store opened this morning! That's when they open up the basement which is full of all the Christmas items they've had donated through the year. Every time I've been there, the goods have been... unimpressive. But that must have changed, because apparently, either the stuff is really good down there, or it's just in really short supply because 50-some women HAD TO HAVE IT this morning, in the rain.
I called my Gramps to tell him what prompted the unusal line formation in downtown Eureka, IL.
"Oh," he replied, upon hearing the reason. "That's a good spot they've got down there. I always get my Christmas coffee mug down there."
Well, I told him, he better hurry. There might not be any coffee mugs left given that line this morning.


Anonymous said...

oh my gosh... that is hilarious! a great small town story. oh my they are fun.

Anonymous said...

this was a hilarious post, April! I've been down there. Todd loves the Et Cetera shop and we actually got some stuff at the Christmas shop once. Some very cute ornaments, I believe.

Anyway, the suspense was killing me all through your post, and like you said, it was Eureka, so that was something.

Enjoy your napkins. They look lovely.

-M said...

The first day is the best in Christmasbasementlandetc style. After that in short order things are pretty picked over. SOOO hence the haste from those in the know! Glad you go in on a little of the action! I will live vicariously through you!