by Barbara Belknap
We came home with a heavy bag of goodies from the 2012 Juneau Public Market. When we got there around 2:00, the line was moving quickly. Once we had our bright red tickets, Doug and I split up at the double doors so we could check out our favorite vendors and browse at our own speed.We agreed to meet back in the entry area at 4:00.
After I checked out the vendors in the outer rooms and the foyer, I set off counter-clockwise around Centennial Hall carrying my new Powell's City of Books cloth bag from Portland. First thing to go in it was my jacket. An Intentional Shopping Mission requires that my arms are free, and overheating is not an option as I weave my way through the crowds.
Christmas was top of mind, but hugging and chatting with friends and vendors I know are all part of the Public Market experience. From a distance, I spotted the Wintersong Soap Company booth. Slowly, I worked my way toward the Sitkans who craft an amazing moisturizer they call "Body Butter". It takes me about a year to go through two containers, so I stocked up, grabbing a third jar of 'Sandalwood Vanilla Body Butter" for a gift. Their creamy concoction is the kindest thing I can do for my skin in our winters, and it's perfect for our visits to the Southwest.
The cool counter-culture kind of stuff is two-thirds of the way around the hall along the wall. That's where the quirky t-shirts can be discovered for certain beloved males in the family, who shall go nameless so as not to ruin the surprise. In the corner stall, I scored a great scarf that had all my favorite colors woven into it. Then I moved on. The 4:00 rendezvous deadline was approaching. My Powell's bag was half full when I joined Doug at the windows across from the ticket table. We shared our finds with each, then walked across the parking lot in the darkness (at 4:15!) to the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, where a whole new group of interesting vendors awaited.
My favorite shopping experience of the whole afternoon was at the Paws & Reflect booth of Cris Zack and Andrea Deppner (http://www.pawsandreflectpaper.com). Their Alaska-themed handcrafted (including the paper) Christmas cards are exquisite tactile pieces of art. The box, held tight by its twine binding and adorned with a tiny sprig of pine, has the women's stories on the back. There's a line at the bottom saying, "As seen on CBS 'Sunday Morning'". That's impressive coverage.
We found a few more gifts and worked our way towards the door. At the end of the row of booths, we chatted briefly with a Coast Guard couple selling raffle tickets for the annual Seniors Dinner. It's an annual event put on by the USCG Chiefs Club. Doug and I told them that we used to help the seniors off with their coats, give them a ticket, and show them the way to the rows of decorated tables all set up in the ANB Hall. The gentleman shook hands with Doug and thanked him for his service.
On that nostalgic note, we left the JACC's bright lights for the darkness outside. Making our way around the cars, we recognized our old Nissan Pathfinder that we sold last year. I ran my hand across the hood, greeting another old friend, then we quickly walked to the crosswalk, and made our way across Egan Drive to the subport parking lot and our Subaru. I was happy with my treasures, and energized by this annual ritual that kicks off our holiday season.