Madison Monday: Rainy day Madison

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Sign outside of Lumber Mill Antique Mall

It’s raining off and on today in Madison and is so gloomy now outside that the street lights outside the Catholic church next door have come on. But thankfully, still unseasonably warm in the high 50s. What might a person who is retired or due to some other circumstance beyond their control has a lot of free time on their hands (say, a well-deserved sabbatical) find to do in Madison? How might you fill your days in Madison, you ask?

Well, you might start your morning with a walk. You can head in almost any direction. If you head towards the river, there are always ducks, sometimes a heron or a crane, and I’ve even seen sea gulls, though I’m never sure exactly what they’re doing here. And there are animals of the human variety to observe, including the beginning of bridge construction in all kinds of weather, and barges churning by.

This morning I walked by Lanier Mansion and the Visitor’s Center on 1st Street, because I always forget about 1st Street. The lovely thing about Madison is that there’s always something new to see on a walk, something you didn’t notice before, some new vista or corner. Maybe this is true everywhere, I can’t say for sure.

By lunchtime, you might be getting kind of lonely, what with other folks working and what-not (assuming your family is also not off for President’s Day). Today I headed to Shooter’s, our local soda fountain converted into a sports bar. There I sat at the bar and read about rural school consolidation in the late 19th and early 20th century (which is much more interesting than you might think) while sipping on a Hoptimus (a beer out of New Albany, Indiana), the effects of which I’m still feeling. When you hear “sports bar” you might think Applebee’s or Buffalo Wild Wings or some such, but banish those visions. Shooter’s has a beautiful bar and exposed brick and looks out onto a street with actual people walking around, living their lives. Unlike many of today’s sports bars, it is not in the middle of a mall parking lot.

View from inside of Shooter’s

Then I walked across the street to deposit bag #1 of books I have culled from my shelves at Village Lights Bookstore so that I can get in-store credit to buy yet more books to replace the ones that have been culled. It doesn’t really bother me that this process might go on ad infinitum. I feel your bookshelves should change as you do. Today I could not resist buying Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, which I read in college at the insistence of a boy I was most dramatically in love with. Of course I loved it then, but I wonder what I’ll think of it now.

Madison is a great place to go antiquing, which for my 9 year old stepdaughter this weekend, meant buying a fluffy stuffed dog on Main street for $3. There are several antique stores in Madison, but two I especially like to frequent to check out the old musical instruments–Lumber Mill Antique Mall and River West Antique Mall. Antique stores and flea markets are culminations of our obsession with stuff…here is the stuff we think is really worth something. Or at least, here is the stuff that someone thinks is really worth something. Perhaps someone out there has already done this, but I would love to read a blog that’s about nothing but stuff. Someone goes into a flea market or an antique store and takes a picture of some random object and then writes about it. How cool would that blog be?

Before I get to my to-do list for the day, here are some random things I saw at Lumber Mill Antiques today. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in a flea market, yard sale, or antique store?

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