In our town, the BORDERS store is a shining star, housed not in a strip mall but in a building constructed in 1923 as part of the grammar school.  One of our town’s beautiful anchors.

It is now one of the 200 stores nationwide targeted to close.

The liquidators are not wasting any time.  According to the store’s manager, they showed up over the weekend and started marking down the inventory.  Loyal customers have been streaming in to buy books, but also to hug the employees, and each other, and to say goodbye.  There are tears.

When we bought our house, its biggest draw was (is) the neighborhood and sense of community.  We wanted a place where we could walk everywhere — where we could go entire weeks or weekends without ever getting in the car — and we found it, our little paradise nestled into the base of a mountain.  People you don’t know wave from their front porches and stop to talk.  It’s that kind of place.  I set foot in our BORDERS store at least twice a week, and I buy books there.  Sure, I order books on-line, and I love the used bookstore (a 15 minute drive away), but I’ve cherished this local BORDERS as a place that feels like part of my home:  I might take Lea the lab for a morning walk and stop in for a cup of coffee and a browse; I could buy a book and step outside onto the adjacent patio to sit under the giant trees; or I might ride my bike there to snag a book that I must have today, this instant.

I could cry.  I know I will cry the first time I walk my dog or ride my bike by that soon-to-be empty space.  I know this is small potatoes compared to all the other stuff going on in the world.  I read the papers.  And I was just reading a blog post by one of my old professors who’s in India on Fulbright Fellowship, describing one truly bizarre and dangerous day.  So I have perspective.  I really do.  But the sight of that empty bookstore is still going to break my heart.

Our shining star will lock its doors next month.