Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Adapting To The South
by James Glaser
March 28, 2008

Tomorrow I have an appointment at the VA Clinic here in Tallahassee. I know if I say how we had appointments up North, everyone reading this from down South will say, "We don't care how you did it up North."

Well, anyway, whenever I had a VA appointment up North, the first thing you would do after getting to the hospital or clinic was to go to the "Blood Drawing Clinic." They would have you fast from midnight on, and years ago they would give you a free breakfast after they took your blood. They quit this about 15 years ago to save money. When you saw your doctor, he already had your lab report, and he or she could discuss it with you

Down here, I'll get in to see the doctor, and the first thing she will say is, "Why, I should have had some lab work done on you." "We'll have to get you in here, and I'll write to you if anything comes up bad." Of course that means another appointment. Even if there is just good things to tell me about my lab work, that is nice to hear, too.

After the appointment I'll head down to Railroad Square to open up the gallery. Every morning I look forward to work. Not that I am making much money, but I am breaking even and business is getting better the longer I am open. It seems like every day now somebody will stop in that has never been to the Square and that is good. We have several shops and studios who advertise, and every ad has the words Railroad Square in it. I figure everyone's ad helps me a bit, and my ads help everyone else. If they come to Railroad Square, I have a shot at their coming into my gallery.

With Tallahassee being the State Capital, we get people coming to do business with government from all over Florida, and with the two universities, we get parents of students coming from all over the country. Both schools, Florida A&M and Florida State, have returning alumni visiting, and many of them spent time at Railroad Square years ago, so they return to see how things have changed.

My new workshop at the gallery is working out just fine. I use my large workshop in the back of the park to cut out projects, and I assemble them up front while the Gallery is open. I am still figuring out what tools to have where, and it always seems that the tool you need is at the other shop. That is OK though as I have several projects going, and I can put one off if I need a tool that isn't there, and start working at something that I have the tools for.

With the shop open more, gross sales are improving and now, that my sculpture show is finished, I can start making less expensive things to sell in the gallery. I cut out eleven boxes on Monday, and every day I am working on one or two. I haven't finished any yet, but in about a week I will be finishing one a day and hope to get a system going that allows me to get at least one new thing done a day, but hopefully more than that if the item is simple enough.

I have been painting trim and adding it to the outside of the building. I've also trimmed out the hallway going into my sculpture room. Everything takes time, but I find that a lot of people are watching my progress, and they come in to the gallery to see what I have accomplished. That makes it fun and gives me the incentive to get more work done.

Early next month, Wanda is going to a conference in Mississippi for her work. It is being held at a Choctaw Indian Reservation, and I am going to tag along and see if I can't find some Native American Crafts that would fit in at the Gallery. I have never been to Mississippi, and traveling down the back roads sounds like fun to me. Wanda is great to travel with, and the both of us will stop at anything that sounds the least bit interesting to look at.

So, for you people up in the Northland, it is in the 70's every day now, I planted roses yesterday, and the petunias and snap dragons I planted last October look just great. Tallahassee is filled with blossoms and flowers. The only draw back is that the pollen can get to you at times, but I can honestly say that I have had nice weather for the last six months straight, and expect to have two or three more months of the same before it really gets too hot. Eight or nine months of really nice weather in a year are hard to beat.

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