We had a great time today in Old Ellicott City along with what seemed like thousands of other people. Today was Small Business Saturday, and I'm happy to say that it appears the small businesses are doing an overall good business in Ellicott City. The Christmas shopping season is a great time to be in EC, as many of the shops are decorated in the season's finest, with lots of lights, candles, wreaths, Santas, Elves, and Christmas bling all over town. We felt like the season was upon us in a big way, and it really put us in a Christmas mood.
In fact, a highlight for me was getting tackled by a 5'5" elf on the stairway of one of the antique shops I visited. He/It was coming down the stairs as I was going up. I'm not a little guy, but somehow the elf didn't see me and ran right over me. I had time to yell, "Head's up!!!" just as he plowed into me and, fortunately, I went down in a heap on the landing. Unfortunately for the elf, he kept going, head first, right on down the stairs. I think he landed in a display of fairy action figures. He was okay, I was okay, and the fairies were okay, and, hey, who wants to get mad at one of Santa's elves, even if he was too tall and it was his/its fault?
The excitement didn't end there, though. Later, as we were wandering through another crowd of people outside of the old Calahan's Department Store, we discovered they were giving away cups of hot chocolate. It was a mighty fine gesture on the store's part, and my daughter asked me if she could have a cup. I said it was fine, and she even added some mini-marshmallows to hers. We navigated through the crowd to the sidewalk, where her hot chocolate bumped a passerby, who knocked it right into my lap. They certainly can't call it "cold" chocolate, "room temperature" chocolate, or even "luke warm" chocolate.... it was definitely HOT. It soaked through my jeans, my tucked in t-shirt, my long underwear, my short underwear, and a good bit of hair. It didn't take long to cool off and before long, it was "ice cold" chocolate.
About a half-hour later, I was crossing the street when three rather attractive women asked me if I would take a picture of them. One of them handed me her camera, and I lined up to take their pic. Unfortunately, the camera wasn't turned on, and I didn't realize it until I had pushed the shutter button several times and nothing happened. The light changed and I was still in the middle of the street with the women, who didn't seem to care, but insisted that I get the shot despite an approaching pickup truck. I think I got an okay shot, threw the camera back to the woman, and turned toward the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. Before I could take more than two steps, the woman grabbed my arm, swung me around, gave me a huge wet smooch on my nose, said thanks, and released me. Several honking horns later, I reached my side of the street, embarrassed, red-faced, and just a bit confused over the whole thing. The women were headed down the other sidewalk, laughing at each other.
After shopping for several hours, we decided it was time to go. We headed up the street to the parking area. In some areas, the sidewalks are really narrow, with barely enough room for two people to walk past each other without one having to step into the street. My daughter was in front of me, and a smartly dressed couple was walking down the sidewalk towards us. Just before we got to them, I moved as far to the right as I could, practically hugging the building on my right as I walked forward. The couple approached just as I tripped on a large rock jutting out into the sidewalk, which I hadn't seen. I went down in a heap, landing on my palms as I reached out to break my fall. As I did so, the young lady half of the couple walking towards us accidentally tripped on the curb trying to miss me. She wasn't successful. She went down, too, landing right on top of me. She knocked the wind out of me, which actually sounded rather funny (kind of like compressed air being forced out of a tube; or like a muted fart, if that makes any sense). Her companion thought the whole thing was hilarious, and began laughing very loudly. The girl didn't find it amusing at all, and neither did I. She began to chew him out in a language I didn't recognize, but she was still laying on top of me. I couldn't get up until she got up, and she was too busy yelling at the guy to get up. She finally stood up, and they continued down the sidewalk arguing without acknowledging me at all. Melody helped me up, I said thanks to her, but loud enough that I hope the couple heard me, and we continued to go to our car.
Ellicott City really is a neat little town with a lot of history. I'm hopeful I didn't add to it's history with my little faux pas. But you all should try to get out and enjoy the season. Shop till you drop. I did.
Have a great evening, everyone!