I write to celebrate the remarkable duo that stand nearly side by side on The Square: Crozet Hardware and Parkway Pharmacy. Walk into the hardware store and Billy will ask if he can help you find what you need, which is itself a brave question. Once you proclaim you are in search of a 6 mm combination wrench and ten casing nails, he’ll count those nails out for you in his strong hands, placing them delicately in a tiny paper bag. At the counter, Jeff will hand you an honest-to-goodness clipboard and pen and say something uplifting about the day outside. In that gem of a place you can find garden seed and onion starts, air filters and fans, light bulbs and mouse traps, paints and caulks, cleaning supplies and bird feeders, bolts, screws and nails. They’ll repair your rake and shovel, fix holes in your screens, sharpen your knives and rewire your lamps. I’ve not once been disappointed. You’ll walk out with a skip in your step: what a magnificently human interaction that just was.
Three doors to the left at Parkway Pharmacy, Donna will have your prescription pulled out for you before you even reach the counter. She knows everyone by name. She knows her stuff. She cares. Up front, Mary holds court, carefully helping you find the right greeting card or lottery ticket. She has her inventory down by heart. Just yesterday I was in pursuit of an obscure homeopathic remedy and voila—Mary put her hand right on it. You can hear Paul, judicious and insightful, on the phone with a doctor figuring out the most accurate dosage. Routinely, I find just the right gift for a friend; I walk away with splints for my injuries and salts for my aches. I bet you do, too. How exquisite are these two businesses, and how rare. May we regard them the way we would an endangered species. Revel in the Northern Bald Ibis with its long, curved red bill, in the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, rapidly diminishing, increasingly rare, our pharmacy and hardware store: oh, so worthy of our recognition.