The Corner Guitar Store

One selling point for my current job was that it was close to Herb David’s Guitar Studio. In business since 1962, the shop sold and repaired instruments and hosted independent instructors. Having just inherited a mandolin from Wendi’s family, I wanted to learn how to play it.

Once a week for the first year of my employment, I climbed up to the second floor of the shop and learned how to make progressively less unpleasant noise. I bought my Mid-Missouri M-0 mandolin there, and for one of my birthdays Wendi ordered a Makala MK-P ukulele from them and had a pickup installed in it.

On the corner of Was and Is No More.

On the corner of Was and Is No More.

Over the years I’ve picked up songbooks, slides, tuners, a bunch of ukes, strings, and my Epiphone VeeWee from Herb Davids. They repaired my grandmother’s Gibson Songbird, and I’d been planning to see what they could do for my vintage banjo.

From my use of the past tense, you’ve probably ascertained that Herb David’s Guitar Studio is no more. In a few more days, you’ll be right.

Herb David is retiring, and the doors will close for good on March 30. I’m happy for him. His store has been open for 51 years, and that’s an accomplishment well worth noting. Still, downtown Ann Arbor will lose a little more of its personality next week.

Strum on, Herb! We miss you already.


General Blight

If the car dealership near our house was open when we moved in, then it was already shutting down. For most of the ten years or so that we’ve lived in our quiet village, the car lot has stood empty. The pavement had cracked in recent years, and weeds took full advantage of the opportunity to form a crazed, green web through the lot.

Now I’m imagining a gigantic spider that weaves weed webs in a parking lot right near my house. Good going, me.

Anyway, there was this large untended commercial lot right next door. Okay, that was the auto part factory. But that’s now a recycling plant of some sort. I don’t really know, which is actually very hard to explain to drivers that show up during off hours. They always seem to think that we have the factory over for dinner or have it watch our cats when we’re out.

“You don’t have a number?” a driver will ask.

“No. They didn’t even tell me they were going. Pisses me off, because I wanted to take my wife out and was counting on them to feed the cats.”

…The car lot is (was) next door to the factory, is what I meant to say. To recap: our house, the factory, the car lot. Also a car wash that sort of borders all of these properties, but that’s irrelevant.

The point is that about a month ago the dealership office was torn down. Now the parking lot has been dug up, and there seems to be foundation work being done.

I know that something’s happening.

We were curious what could be going in. It’s kind of tricky to start a new business around here. It’s a pretty sheltered community, despite being only a 15 minute drive from larger towns and about half an hour from parts of Ann Arbor. The arrangement of roads makes it so that there’s not a lot of traffic, and what there is mostly consists of trucks and other long-distance travellers. If you’re planning on taking advantage of the proximity to the larger communities, you should just put your startup money on lottery tickets — you’ll probably lose less.

We finally took a look at the sign posted on the construction site. It turns out that the store’s going to be a Dollar General. Those things are like blight fungus, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. I just don’t see how it fits into a small village economy. It’ll probably take some snack and sundries business from the grocery and hardware stores, but that’s about it. Is there that much demand here for cheap can openers and crummy pens?

We’ll see. I just hope the factory leaves a number at the Dollar General when they’re away.

Pet Service

Bogart didn’t want us to go to work today. He rubbed against my legs and flopped on the ground. I rubbed his belly and reminded him that someone had to earn the kibble money.

“No problem,” he said. “Humans will pay to rub my belly.”

His eyes glinted playfully, and I extracted my hand from his pincer attack.

“They’re not going to want to pay to get clawed,” I advised him.

Bogart displayed his belly to best effect, but that feral look was still in his eyes.

“Clawing is free with purchase,” he decided.

Cats have no business acumen whatsoever.