Blessing Buckshot and Bobby Pins

 I made oatmeal for the chickens again this morning, and they didn't mind that it was a little brown on the bottom. Yes, I burned it, again. This happens when my husband is not here to remind me to watch the pot. But the hens like the soft, warm grain on these cold mornings when their water is frozen. Speaking of water and a kind if warmth, yesterday at noon a handful of us from St. Michael's gathered inside the new gift shop on Main Street, Buckshot and Bobby Pins, to bless it. (The shop opens grandly at 11 today.) Jan, our priest, waved a hemlock branch with holy water at the door, windows, and cash register counter and prayed that all who enter and all who work there will be blessed, and that the people who made the goods for sale will be too. She reminded us that we are all dependent on each others labors, strangers and friends a like. Think of it: a farmer in the Midwest grew the oats I fed my chickens, a sawmill worker in Washington stacked the lumber the coop is made from, a tugboat driver made sure it got here, our lumberyard made it all available in Haines, and we hired Doug to build it, so he could feed his family oatmeal and some of our fresh eggs. But I digress. Kristine, the shop's owner, and a new Haines resident and St. Michael's parishioner, looked a little nervous when Jan pointed the watery stick pointed toward her freshly unpacked merchandise-- scarves, hats, jewelry, dog treats, baby gifts. But Jan didn't soak the stuff, rather sort of tossed the water drops near it. We Episcopalians don't go in for full immersion when a sprinkle will do.  It was, we reckoned, perhaps the first blessing of a business, and we wondered if judging from the rather forlorn look of Main Street, maybe we should bless the stores annually the way we bless the fleet. The fisherman seem to be doing pretty well. You can contribute to your own business blessings by shopping in town this holiday. Today there is the Women's Club bazaar at the school, and the Outfitter Sporting Goods store is offering 20% off on all purchases over 50 dollars. As to the shop-at-home local gift challenge: I have bought a pretty ice scraper and chamois cloth for wiping condensation from the inside of windshields at the The Parts Place, and dropped off three pictures to be framed at The Alaska Side, including my first Woman's Day column. What have you done to shop locally this week?

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