Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Attention: We Have a Man Loose in the Hobby Lobby

NOB HILL--Few things are more distasteful to me than hanging out in the women's department of a big store. I do my best, but standing around by the dressing room is not my cup of coffee. And I regard going to those perfumed palaces of cute, plastic do-it-yourself accessories such as Michael's and Hobby Lobby to be just as painful. Yet, last night, there I was...killing time at Hobby Lobby while MaryAnn picked up a few feathers for a school project.

I wandered past the $39.00 golden-robed, becrowned Christmas angel destined for the top of someone's $400 plastic tree, past the rows of ornaments sorted out by color and themes, and through the aisles of foam French bread, slit at the top and browned to painted perfection.

But in the middle of this perceived idiocy I found myself holding something that made sense: an ANT FARM! How did this get in here? I continued down the display aisle. There were model railroad items on the right and on the left were all kinds of cool things. For instance there were several models of Duncan Yo-yo's. I was especially attracted to the "Pro-Fly" for only $2.99. It was competition grade. I seriously thought about buying one, and actually visualized myself finally mastering "rocking the cradle" and wondering if it were possible to come up with a new trick called "the tram."

Omigod! 33 all different U.S. airmail stamps...I remember that 6 cents airmail with the red eagle and blue was one of my favorites. I thought back to the Ambassador Stamp Album I had spent so many hours with as a kid. I still had it and when I taught school showed it to my students in hopes of arousing their curiousity about the world. Stamps teach so much about history as well as geography. At any rate, my folks and I never had the money for this kind of premium stamp selection. No, I got the big bag of 300 stamps for a buck. It kept me busy longer and I guess I really never knew the difference...except that I had to soak the stamps to get the envelope paper off the backs of most of them. I had a close friend named Richard Lenburg who had the coolest collection. There was a set of flag stamps. I think it represented every nation in NATO. At any rate, his dad bought him a whole sheet of every flag in the set. I could not imagine such wealth. It must have set them back nearly a dollar per sheet.

Oh, will you look at this...a Pan-Am China Clipper. Talk about an airplane that inspired people to dream! I loved putting together model airplanes. It is so neat to find that they still make these...wait a minute. That can't be right! Look at the price of that box of plastic parts.

Oh well, time to go. And MaryAnn, who loves me so much, will think I'm a hero for putting up with this place while she shopped.

"Hi Sugar, ready for a cup of coffee?"


Greg said...

heh - great post, Jon. I remember the Ambassador stamp albums, and buying "approval sets", and learning about hinges and sleeves.

When I was about 12, I was collecting and categorizing, and got interested in animals on stamps. In our small town there was an elderly eccentric gentleman, who found out I was starting to collect. He invited me over, and since it was a small town in the early '60s, I went.

He had thousands of waterfall stamps, sports stamps - and his largest collection was animal stamps. It was then that I learned about Latin names, and about species and genus. Each section of his collection was by animal - using the scientific name. He gave me a few nice stamps, explained about the Scott's Catalog, and sent me on my way.

That kind of interaction doesn't happen much, anymore. It was a common thing, then, and I wonder how much more of our culture we've lost to urbanization, speed, fear, and the mass media.

Anonymous said...

Great Post - as a regular HobLob customer, via the Frame Sales, I visit this store all the time - always on the hunt for frames that I can use within my budget.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading -