On Sundays about 9 a.m. the faithful of Lower Hillsdale Heights (the neighborhood where amateur sleuth Emma Golden resides) begin to move.
Emma spots them from her kitchen window as they march determinedly, sometimes singly and sometimes in packs, south down the sloping street toward what is known as Hillsdale Town Center. Some ride bicycles; many walk with dogs; even more, it seems, push baby strollers and herd small children. All carry empty shopping bags and baskets and totes, not to mention water bottles, backpacks, travel mugs….
These are purposeful people wearing purposeful looks, not unlike, Emma thinks, Lewis and Clark might have worn as they wended their ways west. Important things await them. They congregate rain or shine, and even every other week throughout the winter. Like the Lutherans of Lake Wobegone, they take their duties seriously.
By 10 a.m. the wanderers downhill past Emma’s kitchen have become throngs of neighbors. Some laugh and chatter with each other if the day is fine. There are fewer dogs now. The Hillsdale Farmers Market is officially open for the weekly season, and from May through November dogs are not welcome there. It’s just too complicated.
People are walking uphill now, too–with the dogs, coffees, and goodies from Baker & Spice. The totes (or toddlers) jiggle on their hips. Carrot tops wobble in the breeze. Bunches of greens protrude from bags. Happy adults labor under flats of fresh berries. Tired children scream. (The occasional binky or lost miniature “croc” often finds its way to the top of Emma’s mailbox, having become separated from its owner during the Sunday rites.)
By 2 p.m. it is done. A few stragglers trudge. A quiet descends on the neighborhood. The Sabbath has been observed and all is well. Hallelujah. AMEN.