Pulling the steering wheel right the Tacoma’s front tires slowly moved us off 111th avenue and into the parking lot. People were standing everywhere outside watching a couple of graffiti artists paint murals on the building next door to the one we intended to enter. After parking the truck, I was concerned about the length and that it might be blocking the entrance or exit for other vehicles. Informing my wife who sat in the passenger seat of this concern, I asked her to hop out and take a look. She did so, then decided to give a different opinion about a different parking spot. Instead of choosing either of the two spots in the front, I decided to drive back onto 111th avenue and pull around to the backside of the building where I found a nearly empty lot and parked diagonally like a couple of other vehicles.
Wandering into the alleyway where I was originally going to park I stopped to ask a volunteer sitting on a barstool near a black banner with large green letters reading ENTRANCE. She informed the building and property owners agreed to have a group of local graffiti artists complete a mural around the building. She said there were about twenty artists completing a variety of works. Also this little artists movement included a section of local handmade artisans, a few live bands, a bunch of food trucks and glass blowing. I thanked her then met my wife at the front of the shop.
A few weeks back on a soggy July afternoon after work, I wandered into the shop looking for gemstones which would be given to my nephew who is an amateur bull rider to assist him with healing his recently broken leg. Then a few days after that my wife and I were in the shop and I was wearing an Australia Cricket shirt which we ended up talking about test day matches and the British influence of getting the game of cricket into various parts of the world.
Ever since those encounters whenever I am in the Rock & Gem Shop, the owner and I tend to have lengthy conversations about local life, world politics, COVID, things happening in the United States, how we are fairing with the “new normal” and what we are looking forward to doing in the upcoming week.
This afternoon I said to him, “I’m looking for some Jade, to assist with some personal healing,” he smiled and wandered away. A few minutes later he handed to me some pieces of jade. Thinly cut. A multi-layered pink slab and a chunk of green. “These are excellent. Might be a bit big for stowing in my pocket but I will think about it.” Eventually those two made there way back into the pile from which they had been chosen.