Wednesday, September 5, 2007

W is for Will and Eric

Something good has happened in this village.

I live in a village. Not really a town, although my town is taxed with another town under a single “Town of…” umbrella. There are allegedly several hundred people here in Parts West, but they certainly don’t all live in the village.

There is no traffic light. There is a post office and a firehall. And until late last year, there was what some would call a general store, but what I would call a convenience store, tucked into an old building that used to be by the railroad tracks back when there were railroad tracks. Let’s call it Barney’s (for the sake of irony).

Perhaps in this way I’ve clearly been an outsider in this slate town: I almost never went to Barney’s. The place had none of the charm of the quintessential Vermont country store. It was dirty and dusty and smoky, and there was very little in there that I needed (the occasional fishing license, a propane tank refill). In fact, I almost never even thought of Barney’s for emergency purchases. Instead, we’d drive the 5 miles to the grocery store.

A couple of neighbors, when Barney’s closed, desperately missed its convenience for wine and beer. Likely it was a long dark winter for them.

One day, at yoga, a woman from a neighboring town asked me what I knew about the new owners. As I’m an editor chained to her computer in her home office fewer than a dozen buildings away from Barney’s, of course I knew nothing. I didn’t even know there were new owners. What did she know? Two guys, she said, and maybe one would be selling meats.

Work began at Barney’s: cleanup, construction, painting. And then something extraordinary: two twisty topiaries appeared, one on either side of the steps. The collective gasp of the ex-city chicks and village gays was very nearly deafening.

Will and Eric opened in August, right before I left for vacation. The place is transformed. (Of course, as several have noted, “clean” passes for “transformed.”) The boys are doing a good job of catering to the old customer base while batting their eyelashes at the new. That is, Barney’s is essentially still a convenience store with a deli counter—but check out the Vermonty perks: Fresh Rupert Rising bread. Consider Bardwell cheese. Pastries in the morning and Green Mountain Coffee in thermos pump pots. Wilcox black raspberry ice cream in the freezer. And someday, soon, beer and wine again.

I don’t often frequent convenience store–type places, so I keep looking for ways to patronize these guys (without gaining too much weight). The other night Alison was over for dinner, and we sent Tim to pick up some Chesster ice cream sandwiches (they carry them!) for dessert. Tim made the trip à la longboard, and apparently Will took it for a spin.

Barney’s: A phoenix has risen from the ashes.


Sewa Yoleme said...

Ah, now THIS is what we've been waiting for. Brava. Beautifully written. I can't wait to see the new, Barney's.

Did the proprietors know they were gay before Will and Grace stole their names?

Re Tim: You know what they say--big feet, big longboard.

Be careful, you might find your village turning into the Paris of the Northeast, as Cecily and Roslyn might have called it.

pk said...

sounds simply scwumptious, darling. By and by you can be the wise Ruth-Ann....Frannie loves N.E. so she can pop by on her big trip when she leaves school and sit at your feet

pk said...

sorry , what I meant to say was of course, it sounds

Indigo Bunting said...

Sewa, you simply MUST buy one of Chuck and David's houses, which they realize now they will have to sell separately. They are quite different from each other, though, and the fancier schmancier one I can totally see you in. Beautiful layout. Of course, it's in the village...but you can live in it til you win the lottery and buy some land.

Mrs. S: I wonder if I could be the wise Ruth-Ann without actually running the store? I'll work on that and will try to be ready by the time Frannie gets here. I've been to the town in Washington where they filmed NE's Main Street, and believe me, there is far more commerce there than you will ever see here in Parts West. That was the big city in comparison.

I'll do my best, darling, to both be ab fab and enjoy the ab fabness around me.

Deloney said...

Welcome back. You should get Maureen to talk about the village she grew up in.

Indigo Bunting said...

Hey Maureen! Talk about the village you grew up in! Inquiring minds...

Bridgett said...

That's a good picture of place. Are the topiaries the Vermont sign for "we're gay"?

Welcome back. :^)

Sabine said...

Oh, you know... it was villagie...

K. said...

Glad you're back. This post makes me incredibly hungry. Studies can wait. I'm off to the bakery.

Indigo Bunting said...

B: Not sure it's necessarily the sign for "hi, we're gay," but it's not exactly the sign for "hi, we're macho hetero truck drivers" either.

MM: Ah. Villagie.

K: Sounds like your priorities are straight. So to speak.