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Street Talk

More Cars; More Business On Saturday

By Mickey Howley

            Last Saturday morning I was up late and moving slow. The night before had been an opening reception for a new show at Bozarts. The band “Dutch Loves Bijou” played the event and after we all went to El Charritos, closing the place down as the last table there. So the choice Saturday morning was not should I linger and lounge, for there was a gallery to clean, but which vehicle to take downtown.

            Mind you, it is not a long trip, just four blocks from my house to Main Street, and I could walk or bike. It’d be easy because it is all downhill going into town. That would be the “too healthy” choice, so I stuck with the internal combustion mode. Normally on a nice weekend morning in May I’d be wanting to drop the top on the old VW and feel the wind rush across my scalp. But there was a pesky frontline approaching and I went for the GMC option. Coming down the hill on Blackmur I just let the throttle trail in third gear until I swung on Main. And then I started counting cars.

            If you’re a car guy, you know folks by their vehicles.  Alexe has her old Benz, the Mayor rolls a Chevy stepside, Coulter has her theft-proof Dodge mini-van. And even if you don’t know the car to person combo exactly, you can roughly guess who drives what. Call it car profiling.  Last Saturday morning there were a whole bunch of different types of cars parked downtown, it wasn’t all Crown Vics or F-250s. And because counties are on Mississippi tags, it wasn’t all Yalobusha either. Or even all Mississippi. So I counted.

            At 9:40 a.m. parked on Main Street for the two blocks between Panola and Church Streets were 38 cars. There are 93 parking spaces in that same area. And there was nothing special going on. No fest, no event, no Lions Club pancake breakfast, no Farmers Market (Saturday May 30 is the first day), just a regular Saturday.

            I parked the pickup and it made the count 39. And even though I was about to sweep and mop 1,700 square feet of concrete floor, I was smiling. Because rolling onto Main Street a decade ago on a similar Saturday at the same time would have meant seeing only three to four cars parked. Thankful that Saturday retail like Sartain’s, Midtown, and Turnage are still there and glad there has been a steady increase of businesses joining them.

            There’s a big arts and music fest this Saturday. Not downtown, but just outside of town. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday there will be the Second Annual Pine Valley Music and Arts Festival. Pine Valley is on Hwy 32 if you’re taking the back way to Bruce. It is a pretty scenic drive; the road undulates through the wooded Yalobushian Hills. The fest is at the old Pine Valley schoolhouse, can’t miss it as you head that way. Last I heard the line up was 60 artists, 15 bands, two stages, lots of games, and tasty food. I’m hoping for sunshine and a dropped top drive.


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