Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ah Choo Choo. Gazundheit.

Fellow Easthampton'ers will recognize this somewhat scary shop facade from good old Cottage Street. It's the strange pawn shop-looking place sandwiched between the church and Rene's TV repair shop. I can't tell you how many times people have come into Mt. Tom's and asked, 'Is that Choo Choo place ever open?' My usual reply is, 'not that I know of'. I've always assumed it was serving as someone's downtown storage unit, just with big windows and a tacky sign. I must admit, though, there are some interesting collectables sitting just behind those giant aquarium windows. So I suppose I can understand one's desire to 'gain entry' when that life-sized lighted opaque Mickey Mouse they've always wanted waves at them tauntingly as they walk by, enroute to their next sundae.

So how surprised, intrigued, and morbidly curious was I when, as I set up the sidewalk chairs this morning, I noticed the door to Ah Choo Choo standing magically and majestically open for all to enter. I knew I had to go inside. Anxiously, I waited for my scooper to arrive so I could pass over that threshold that so many have longed to cross, yet so few granted the opportunity.

In case you didn't notice the activity outside the 'Choo' today or catch a glimse of the 'tag sale' sandwich board (got a permit for that? good thing it's sunday...), I'm going to give you a quick glimpse into the promised land, that peak at the little wizard of Oz behind the forboding curtain. Welcome to the world of Choo Choo...

I was trying to be all stealthy and clandestine on this first shot, hence the angled shot of mostly ceiling. I gained confidence going into this next one...

The world as seen from inside the ACC...

You're probably wondering, well, did you buy anything? I was tempted by the giant Mickey, but that was heartlessly snatched from my grasp by another patron just as I was wandering over to it. I was really tempted by the Habitrail shaped like a steam engine, but nixed that idea when I remembered I haven't owned a hamster since I was 6. Blue lava light, already have one. Wait a minute, what's this? Could it be? Sure enough. But five bucks is too much, hmm. I glance over to the sign on the wall, 'make us an offer'. I pick it up and casually wander over to the counter, being purposely cautious soas to not draw unnecessary attention to my potential purchase.

'Will you take 3 bucks for this?'

The man at the counter says, 'Will you be hanging it in your shop? (my Mt. Tom's T-shirt and apron give me away every time). I reply, 'ahh, probably not.'

He took my 3 bucks anyway.

As you may or may not remember, I have a bit of a running gag gift thing going with some family members, and it happens to involve the cow theme. Who's to be the lucky winner this year, hmm...

Now how much do you wish you were on my Christmas shopping list?

Not sure how long the big Ah Choo Choo tag sale extravaganze will continue, so best you get yourself down to Cottage Street as soon as you can before all the great? stuff is gone.

You might notice the 'For Rent' sign in the window too. I realize the ACC will be a tough act to follow, but hopefully it might become home to something new and interesting. Will keep you posted.

Well, I'd better end it there. It's raining. The shop is quiet. And there's an old Kerplunk! game I just can't get out of my head. If anyone's looking for me, I'll be over at the Choo.

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