Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gallatin, Missouri, Part 2

So Saturday we were in Gallatin to see the Tour of Missouri racers whoosh by, and after the race, we were getting a load of the town square. Not too much shakin’, to be honest, but we were jazzed up by what Sheryl Warren was doing with her restaurant, Seasons on the Square.

Since it was midafternoon, and that restaurant wasn’t open yet, we decided to check out the nearby joint called “The Corner Café.” Definitely one of those “local color” establishments. But I’ll do a proper review of it in another post.

After eating there, we continued our stroll around the square and got sucked into a shop called Elbert’s Department Store (“Big and Tall Men’s Clothing”) (660-663-3541).

Look, we couldn’t resist—they had handmade signs on the windows advertising Levi’s for $29.99, and you can’t beat that with a stick. We were sucked in.

And we had a blast! Realize: I usually hate clothing shopping. But I sensed something different here: A complete lack of pretentiousness. Oh, no, I’m not a stick-figure skinny heroin-chic anorexic model type? . . . That’s okay!

Here is something else: The two women working there were actually helpful and friendly. Afterwards Sue and I were trying to remember the last time we were in a department store and actually had a clerk help us find our sizes among all the clothes on the racks, provide tips on shrinkage of one brand versus another, offer opinions on how clothes were fitting, present other sized garments to try. . . . And here we had two nice ladies helping us find clothing.

So we did buy, indeed. And more than just Levi’s . . . Sue got her first-ever pair of Carhartt jeans (ooh-la-la), and I got . . . well . . .

Yeahhhhh . . . they’re genuine Big Smiths. (And no, I don’t intend to wear these to client meetings!)

I should also mention that we were indeed a pair of women in a men’s clothing store, and the women helping us didn’t bat an eye. Sure, jeans are jeans and it’s not unusual for women to buy men’s Levi’s, especially in rural areas where people are more practical when it comes to rugged clothes for gardening and farming.

But even when it became clear that Sue and I were “together,” there was no difference in how we were treated. I know a lot of my friends in bigger cities would think it is outright dangerous to “come out” in a small town, but you know what? Sometimes the small town is incredibly tolerant—even appreciative—and welcoming of good folks who are eccentric, or different, or have different views.

And we simply enjoyed our afternoon there in Gallatin; in retrospect I’m so glad we were too late to see the cyclists start in Chillicothe, because if we hadn’t been forced to hopscotch ahead of the pedaling peloton, we would have missed this fine small town.


Brianna Couch said...

How wonderful this post is!! I was born and raised in Gallatin, MO--have since married and moved away but nothing like a trip home. After reading this post made me very home sick for my HOME TOWN!! Thank you.
Brianna Couch

Julie said...

Why, thank you, Brianna! I have to agree that there's just absolutely nothing like your own home town. And even though I've only been to Gallatin this once, I could tell it was a "home town" kind of town.

If you get back to Gallatin before I do, tell those ladies at Elbert's I said hi.