Friday morning we were up early and raring to go. As the bus pulled out of the parking lot, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, we sang Happy Birthday to Mary M. She wore her tiara and sash all day, celebrating 79. There was quiet talk between Jean, our skillful organizer, and John, our observant bus driver, but nobody paid attention, nor did we realize we were going around a block. Remember, we were in rural Kentucky. Jean soon told us John had noticed the bridge we needed to cross to get out of town had a weight limit sign, and the empty bus weighed 7 tons more than was safe to drive over it. They used GPS to finally find another bridge across the Ohio that could hold us. We got to the first stop fifteen minutes late.
The Old Town Fabric Shop was located in Chillicothe, OH. I bought a fat-quarter package of shirting fabrics and went outside. I noticed some men entering a store a few doors away and went to investigate. It was an archery shop. Once again, my mind went to moonshine, so I went in and made a pest of myself. I learned that you could buy the moonshine shown being made on television in a liquor store, but that didn’t help me. One of the men said he could get me some in a few days, but I would already be back in NY state. It was worth a shot and an interesting diversion. I’m not sure what my bus mates thought of my actions. I didn’t ask.
Again, only one cash register in a store slowed us down, so John took some of us a mile and a half to the next shop, Sew Clever Quilt Shop, also in Chillicothe, OH, then he went back for the others. I learned your bus driver could make the whole trip a notch better. And as you can guess, there was always a line in each bathroom.
It may seem like we had lots of time with only a paragraph about each store, but our schedule was an hour in each store and an hour allowed between each. That makes ten hours. Our lunch was delivered by a local sub shop to the bus while at Sew Clever. Jean had asked for no condiments on the sandwiches, but they were slathered with mayo. I had a warm turkey with cheese, tomato, and lettuce and called it delicious. The ladies who couldn’t eat mayo ended up with salads. And the last few ladies on the bus chose from what was left without complaint. Driving out of Chillicothe, I took some architectural pictures, not because it was so quaint, but because it was so boring. Just what my eyes thought.
Off we went to Nelsonville, OH, to Mae-Lynne Makers Studio. This was one of the smaller stores, and most other storefronts we could see were empty. There was a big parking lot next door for the bus. I admit, by the thirteenth shop, the excitement of seeing new fabrics had waned. It’s called sensory overload. The brick road outside was interesting, as was the stamped concrete between the sidewalk and street. After Nancy, my friend and travel mate, and I got back on the bus, we saw a boy about 12 walk through the parking lot, looking at the bus like it was as unusual as a spaceship. He kept turning his head to look at it again like he didn’t believe what he saw. As I said, it was a rural area.
Our next stop was at The Fabric Shop in Pomeroy, OH. John had come into the store to use the restroom and commented on the personality of the old building. One of the owners heard him and explained it had been the town’s hardware store for years. I swear you could still smell the lumber, oil, and earthy scent from the floorboards. I ordered a pattern for a quilt they had hanging and bought the fun fabric to make it. This store was ready for us with three cutting stations and two cash registers. Unfortunately, it is for sale. Outside I talked to the husbands of the two owners. They showed me a picture of the flood they had five years ago. The Ohio River had to raise16 feet to get up to the street and ankle deep in the store. All I could think of was, what a mess! There was a parking lot across the street, and Kia offered to go over and ask cars not to park so we could make a quick turn-around. They were cooperative and gave us a wave as they went by.
On the other side of Pomeroy, OH, was a tiny store called The Bed Head Cardinal. We all wondered about the name. The young woman who owned the store had an innovative way for us to get our fabric cut. She rang up what we wanted, then her daughter, maybe eight or nine, took the bolts outside, and either her husband or mother cut the yardage. The system worked very well.
We had made up some of the time we lost in the morning, so we made a second stop at Bolts and Quarters so the ladies could get what they were disappointed they didn’t see elsewhere. Brian, the owner, was so excited the big bus came back that he gave all of us an extra gift.
Dinner was at the same Cracker Barrel as Wednesday night, and though we supposedly had reservations, we had to wait for tables. It was Friday night, and they were busy. I probably wouldn’t have cared if I hadn’t been so tired.
We stayed at the same Comfort Suites as Wednesday.