Things were getting hard for Sarah and John.   Business had slacked way off. Sales were less than half what they were the year before.  The store was failing. They talked about just closing up, but wanted to wait until after Christmas to see if sales picked up. They did a little bit, but not much.

Sitting near the front door, Sarah could hear people talking as they went by. One lady wanted to come in and look around, but her friend talked her out of it, saying it was a very interesting shop, but it is hard to leave because the man who owns it talks and talks.  That made Sarah feel bad.

That wasn’t the only thing that made her feel bad.  She developed the worst case of bronchitis she ever had. She couldn’t even lay down at night because it was so hard to breathe.  She would have a bad coughing attack and would lose her breath. Some nights, she felt she wouldn’t live to see morning. She had never been so sick in her life.  She lost her voice. She drank hot mint tea with honey, lemon, and honey bourbon mixed in.  Eventually, she just drank the bourbon straight from the bottle. She was sick for two and a half months. There was no money for a trip to the doctor’s office.  She didn’t go home in those months, she just stayed at the store. John brought her two little dogs there to comfort her.

The dark cloud of her illness had a silver lining. She begged John to let her quit smoking, and he did. He said that she could start back once she got well. She planned to never start back.

She also started writing poetry again. She had so much going on that she just needed to put into words.

John stopped paying bills both at home and the shop.  When the cable and internet were cut off at home, he said the cable provider lost his payment.  He also said the same thing about the power company. When the meter at home was locked for nonpayment, he unlocked it. When they removed the meter, he used jumper cables to hook up the power.

Eventually, the state shut down the store because of nonpayment of sales tax. John and Sarah packed up the merchandise and went home. They filled the living room and workshop with stuff from the store. John was so depressed, that he sat in the truck while Sarah and Jr took things inside. A lot of the  things never made it inside.

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Someone had given Sarah a full sized, handmade floor loom. It was beautiful and Sarah wanted to use it. There just wasn’t any room to use it in the narrow store. John dumped it, as well as an industrial serger about ten feet away from a shed. Since the loom was very heavy, Sarah couldn’t move it; two grown men could hardly move it. The beautiful, handmade loom is still there, two years later, destroyed by rain and sun.

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