Saturday was the annual “shop local” day, which is a way we can all help each other as neighbors, friends and a community.

As is the case for many, by the time I get off at night, the only things open are chain stores. So I rarely have enough time during the day to visit local shops. Last Saturday, however, I was determined to go to at least one local shop. And I'm glad I did.

I'd heard folks talking about a little second hand shop near my apartment. They said the selection and prices were really good. On my way to the laundrymat, I went into the little shop, which turned out to be not so little after all.

The owner happily greeted me, as did an employee. Not only did they have great buys on almost everything I needed for the holidays, but lots of other stuff, too. It was a great, hidden gem that was within walking distance of my apartment and with affordable prices on everything, yet I'd been passing it by for months. There's no telling what I'd missed out on.

There were no rude crowds, stressed out sales clerks or outlandish check out lines. Instead, it was one of the most pleasant shopping forays I'd had in months. In fact, it was so nice, I went back later that same day.

Do yourself a favor. Don't wait for next year's “shop local” day. Go check out your hometown shops soon. You won't be disappointed.

Happy birthday Friday to Larry Ewing of Sherman; Garry Neal and Colby Branham, both of Bells; and Michael Robbins of Collinsville.

Happy anniversary Friday to Bob and Barbara Boland of Sherman, 15 years.

Happy birthday Saturday to Tona Dorsey, Jayla Brown, Ruby Ligon and Charlotte Royal, all of Sherman; Billy Garner of Tom Bean; Debbie Monroe of Bells; Sherry Allison of Howe; Perry Montgomery Jr. of Luella; and Carla Furtch of Dallas.