Imelda’s Shooz

Sometimes for lunch I walk to a shopping center and get a burrito at El Pollo Loco. Then sometimes I walk next door to a shoe store called “Imelda’s Shooz.” The only person in there is a woman whom I can only assume is Imelda, and she’s always super nice, and always says, “Tell me you like anything ’cause I give discount.” (Hmm, or maybe her name isn’t really Imelda, it’s just a joke about Imelda Marcos. I just thought of that! Haha. I always wondered why Imelda was Asian but had a Spanish name). Anyway, I always want really badly to be able to buy some shooz from Imelda, but I just never find anything quite right. I’m afraid she’s going to go out of business, but right now I ain’t got the kind of dough to be buying shoes I don’t really want. But every time I go in there, I’m the only one there. And now I tend to shy away from the store because I’m afraid of getting Imelda’s hopes up, then dashing them.

In high school, a local folk singer named David Wilcox lived in my neighborhood and sang a song called “East Asheville Hardware,” in which he petitioned us to shop there so it wouldn’t go out of business. I took it seriously, and anytime my family needed anything hardware-related, we trooped on down to East Asheville Hardware. And every word of that song hit home to me, because I had been going there ever since I was a baby, and it was connected to a little mom n’ pop grocery store called Miller’s, where they sold the best soft-serve ice cream cones in the universe. By high school, Miller’s was already gone, so when David sang about the hardware store, I felt his passion deep in my bones. And of course, a few years later, East Asheville Hardware was gone, too.

That’s why I’m worried about Imelda. If you need some shooz, please pay her a visit. She’s got some cute stuff! Nice brands, too.

In conclusion, and in honor of small businesses everywhere, here are the lyrics to East Asheville Hardware, by David Wilcox.

An angel appeared
in a holy vision
Stood by my bedside
in the shivering light
Spoke my name
Told me my mission
I could not believe I was hearing him right
‘Cause he said, ‘Go, my son, go…

Always go to East Asheville Hardware
Before you go to Lowe’s

He said, “Go to East Asheville Hardware
Before you go to Lowe’s
You’ll help to keep them open
I’m worried they might close
From the stiff competition
From the national conglomerate
With the full page ad
in the color section of the Sunday paper supplement
and stacks of plastic swimming pools
and seven brands of power tools
and rows and rows of registers
all having nice days
But no, you go, he said to me with light around his face
He said, You go first to that age-old place
To that old wooden door
that you have to close behind you
To the wide-board wooden floor
worn down soft

To the real thing
Good advice, quality at a fair price
And know that they know how deep the frost goes here.

Sure there’s stuff you’ll have to find at Paty’s, Lowe’s or Sears

But go to East Asheville Hardware
Go to East Asheville Hardware
Before it disappears.

One Response to Imelda’s Shooz

  1. Wan says:

    I totally know what you mean. Back home, for me, it was the Terrace Theater (and its sister theater, the Janus). I saw some of the best movies, and the memorable ones, at that theater. Janus had an entire room filled with couches, where I watched ‘Friday.’ Now, it’s all about AMC or PACIFIC ‘theater 7’ which looks just like ‘theater 8’ and you don’t see the same old lady passing out the popcorn with a smile on her face. You get your popcorn from one of 18 surly teens who haven’t seen ‘the princess bride.’ I felt so sad when I heard they tore down those theaters and replaced them with Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Don’t even get me started when I actually saw the spot. On a lighter note, thanks for coming to the wedding and taking such great pix. I heart you to death!

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