Changes in Linden Hills

With new people come changes, good and bad.  We have our newly restricted parking on the corner which — if it actually makes that corner safer — well, ok…that might not be a bad thing.  I remain on the fence about a new development on 43rd and Upton.  I am not convinced it is an entirely bad thing.  But some people are pretty upset about it, almost irrationally so.  After all Linden Hills is a city neighborhood and not a wide spot on a country road.

The one change I cannot warm to is the new Settergren’s Hardware.  Sorry.  And now we are losing, Bayers, the neighborhood’s longtime, family-run hardware store because of it.  I have been in Settergren’s and it is what I expected.  Big, bright, and cold.  It feels suburban.  They do try to fit into the Linden Hills way of things a bit, but that feels contrived, like a false smile on a murderer’s face just before he jabs a knife in your back.

Well, the knife did fall and it fell directly in the back of Bayers.

A sense of place is also a sense of routines for me.  (Maybe that’s why every other post on this blog is about my daily walk in the woods?  I don’t know.)  And this winter I had a nice routine.

I think of cool weekend mornings.  Wake up, scramble some eggs and make a breakfast sandwich or two, brew a pot of coffee.  Those were good mornings.  There truly was a sense of place then and there.

Mornings were best when they included a stroll into Linden Hills; wander into the bakery next to Bayers, grab a caramel roll for a week-long snack — I am getting them with nuts and raisins again now — and then go into Bayers.  Even if only to smell the woodsoap and grab a small bag of that horrible popcorn, you had to stop in at Bayers.

Plus you can always find something to buy in a hardware store; whatever it is, you’ll need it eventually.  Cleaner is a good thing to have, maybe duct tape or a few incadescent light bulbs while you can still find them.

Bayers made it even easier to buy stuff spontaneously with their new pantry filled with good stuff, like Heggie’s Pizza.  The four-cheese pizza was our usual choice.  This might not be fancy co-op fare, but you can dress it up nicely and feel good about selecting an item or two from The Pantry.  The key to light shopping on the fly is keeping things simple.  Never fill more than one bag with goodies.

So with a bag half-full, it would be time to wander back toward home, maybe stop at Coffee & Tea for more Five Star Roast, then the obligatory stop at Tilia for a mimosa and wine.  Perhaps even more breakfast.  Hard to resist sometimes.  Poached egg on toast or biscuits and gravy.  It sounds good and it is, especially when you let yourself laugh and be fabulous.  Everything is so damn good.  And with all of this accomplished before returning home, restocked and re-fed, feeling just a little light and happy from the wine, one is ready for making decisions about the rest of the day.

Now a big piece of that routine is gone.  I can’t see myself “wandering” over to Settergren’s.  It isn’t the kind of place you wander to anymore than you might consider wandering to Home Depot.  Yes, they do have a farmer’s market over there that one might enjoy.  I guess it is ok as far as farmers’ markets go, but it is…I don’t know…a bit flat.

Maybe I’m just pouting.

I am sure I’ll find a way to make up for it.  I still pick up my caramel rolls, coffee, and breakfast in Linden Hills.  In fact, it is hard to imagine anything that might keep me from it.  Nevertheless, I’m not much about how some things change…or how they go away entirely.  Sometimes it makes sense to sort things out, one way or the other.  When some things go, I hope they will come back, but I don’t see Bayers coming back.


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