By: Judy S. Blackstock

My day didn’t start out that way; it just evolved. A need for new brakes on my Honda took me to Auto Technicians located at 523 N. Gay Street last Wednesday. Owner Judy Newcomb and her husband Paul have been there for 34 years, and are well known for their honesty and personable service.

Auto Technicians at 523 N. Gay Street.

Auto Technicians at 523 N. Gay Street.

Judy suggested I might want to catch the free KAT trolley downtown to pass my waiting time.

Walking to the corner, I stood in the shade, gazing at the church across the street,  and watched men working on the roof of the building next to Auto Technicians. Jayne Morgan, my cousin and local theatre person extraordinaire, along with Staci Swedeen, an equal talent,  hope to transform this space into the Flying Anvil Theatre.

Future home of The Flying Anvil Theatre.

Future home of The Flying Anvil Theatre.

As I waited, a man, who was carrying a cross with a purple drape and a crown of thorns, came towards me.  I always carry a camera with me, and taking it out as he came closer, I asked if he minded if I took a picture. He said no, and politely posed. After stepping up on the curb, he asked me if I was married. I said no, and he replied that he was looking for someone to carry on a ministry with him and would I consider marrying him. He gave me his telephone number. I told him that it was something to think about, and he suggested I pray about it because all the answers came from up above. We said goodbye as the trolley arrived.

He brought good tiddings and a marriage proposal.

He brought good tiddings and a marriage proposal.

My driver, Barry Moretz, realizing it was my first trolley ride, gave me tips on the different trolley routes, the streets they cover, and that catching one in the direction I wanted to go meant a shorter ride. I got off at Gay & Clinch and walked to Market Square Mall.


With outside dining available, the dependably good Tomato Head got my business.

Settling down to wait for my sandwich, I noticed a man, on a bench close by, selling The Amplifier, an excellent newspaper published to promote better understanding between the very poor and the wider public. It is sold by vendors in the downtown area; Michael Davis is the seller here.  I took The Amp back to my table, and read a very personal journal article by a formerly homeless person who wanted to share his experiences.

Michael Davis, the Vendor Coordinator for "The Amplifier.

Michael Davis, the Vendor Coordinator for “The Amplifier.

At the same time I was reading and enjoying my sandwich, I took pictures of the action on the mall. Wednesday is Market Day so the square buzzed with vendors setting up, kids playing in the fountains, plenty of dog walkers, even one guy on roller skates.

Judy Market Sqare busy

The serendipitous feeling was coming right along.

My next step put me in front of Market Square Mall vendor Mary LeClair of Color UR World. Her tie-dyes of dresses, tops, and skirts, along with headbands and tights, include color combinations definitely conceived by an artist. The pieces run between $35 and $45. Mary said, “If you have a spandex pair of tights or other piece of clothing, that is plain, or maybe gotten a stain on it, I can redo it for you, and turn it into a brand new piece.”


Mary LeClair of Color UR World at Market Square’s Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

Then there was Doug’s Other Honey, homegrown all the way out in Halls Community.


Doug’s Other Honey

I asked him about the flavor of his delicious nectar and he replied, “I just finished honey that ran from April through June so it started out with oak, then redbud, dogwood, early spring flowers, and forsythia, and whatever bloomed after that.” Local honey is suppose to be the best for you, and Doug has some good stuff. And yes, his first honey is his wife of 39 years.


Mary Phipps of Molly Brown’s Healing Oils from the Earth

I love the homemade fragrances and lotions you can find at markets and have now fallen for those conjured up by Mary Phipps of Molly Brown’s Healing Oils from the Earth. Mary named her business after her grandmother who was an herbalist. In addition to being soothing and refreshing, her products are created to ease pain.

This wasn’t her first choice of careers. In another life she owned a private investigative company, and was doing well until actions by another wiped Mary out financially. She said, “I came to hate what prescription medicine can do to people, so I started looking into making natural remedies to relieve stress and physical pain. That was eight years ago and now I sell over a dozen products. You can start over again, just keep trying, don’t ever give up.” The small, lavender scented roll-on container, for just $5, is a stress soother you can carry in your pocket. Couldn’t resist that!

Judy Trolley

I hopped a trolley back up to the far end of Gay, satisfied and full, both body and soul.

© Judy Blackstock, 2013.

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