Earlier this morning, I was walking down Kane Street, within sight of the Friday Market. A car stopped. A lady leaned across a child to offer me a lift.
"I'm only going to the market up there," I said.
"Oh, we can take you," she said.
I hadn't set up a display, due to the off-and-on rain, but an old friend from Duffield who seldom comes to Gate City had set up a nice one, so I didn't mind steering some traffic her way; I let the obviously harmless woman share her car for one block.
And she said, "Oh, a flea market! I didn't know they had a flea market here!" And I thought, Mercy, Maud, it's a tourist, a real live clueless tourist!
Gate City's principal visitor attraction is the Friday Market. I didn't know whether the weather would permit much activity in it this morning; actually, for those who took the chance and came out, it was humid but cool, pleasant open-air-market weather. Missing were the Sock Lady, the Regular Tool Man, the China Junk Crew, the Collector Knives Man, the Jeans Man, the Hardware Guy, and the Tennessee Vegetable Retailers. Those present included the Rip-Off Tool Man, the Electrical Gadget Man, the Pie Fryer, the DVD Guy, some of the occasional vendors with the kind of garage sale mix the term "flea market" implies, my friend from Duffield with her craft patterns, and at least two farmers with fresh local veg.
When the sun is shining there's a lot more of it, but...who would have imagined that anybody would not know what's been our big attraction since at least 1980? Yes.
We also have live music, nature parks, children's parks, live sports events, auctions, and Town Festivals. Places to eat include McDonalds, Hardee's, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut, Molcajetes, the Hob Nob, and of course the Family Bakery & Cafe where I'm typing this. (More people came in for lunch today than were in the place all day yesterday.) A very charming, upscale place to stay is the Estilville Bed & Breakfast.
I feel like adding, at this point, "And sometimes, like at this particular moment, we have natural light from that thing up in the sky, which we call the sun. And other times, like earlier this morning, a lot of water falls out of the sky, which we call rain..."
Some things about Washington you always miss, when you go back home. Some things about Washington you don't miss. And in some cases that's because you've not actually left them behind. Some things, like clueless tourists, are found everywhere.