Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spirits for Spirits

The George Durant’s Listening Heart Book Store in Hillsdale was a mini-institution for those of us who tried to give George enough business to keep him and the little shop afloat.

I even volunteered behind the counter when George, a kind and earnest man, was called away to dentist or doctor. The foot traffic was thin but fervent, consisting of true believers of one kind or another.

The place, a little literary sanctuary, was packed with spiritual books from all religions, but the store itself was virtually unnoticeable from busy SW Capitol Highway. Its spiritual tomes went undiscovered by the commuters rushing by. George passed much of his time thumbing through book catalogs and waiting for customers who never walked through the door.

Nonetheless, those of us who did drop by found the conversation lively and even uplifting. George, a seeker himself, loved wrestling with questions of the spirit. But he had no business plan to speak of. He kept the place alive on a wish and a prayer until he had no choice but to shut the doors four or five years ago.

He now sells suits at the Washington Square Macy’s. He seems a happier and certainly a more financially secure man.

I thought of him and Listening Heart today as I dropped by the first day of business for Korkage, a spiffy little wine shop opened by Alissa Larrance. Something was oddly familiar about the place, and then it struck me that Alissa had George’s old space. She’d transformed Listening Heart by knocking out the interior walls and lining the shop with mounted bottle bins. In place of Aquinas, the Bhagavad Gita and Lao Tsu were chardonnays, Merlots and Chiantis.

Time had moved on, spirits replacing spirits, as they are wont to do.

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Anonymous carolyn said...

Exactly where is this wine shop? I have only lived in the neighborhood for 5 years, so I never found Listening Heart, either.


3:51 PM  
Blogger Rick Seifert said...

The Korkage is at 6351 SW Capitol Highway, next to the old Dava Bead site.

5:10 PM  

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