Great Falls had it heydays many years ago. It looks like it had been put to sleep. Its downtown is a row of empty worn storefronts, a legacy shared by many small places here when the textile industry died. It was the closing of Republic Textile Mill here that seemed to freeze the town in time, breathless of life, waiting for fortune to find it again.

I had visited here many times with my camera capturing the faded colors and patina of the place. You never find many people wandering here, streets seem always empty. The quiet giving you time to photograph.

Early one morning, to my surprise, I saw the doors to one of the store fronts, Browning T shirts open. I had photographed the building many times, never thinking the business was still there. Holding the door open was a small table with a vase. 

Mr. Browning greeted me, “Pretty isn’t she.” He said seeing me eyeing the vase. “$2 since you are my first customer.”

He handed it to me, as I thought about how my Kathleen would love it especially with some flowers in it. I wandered into the shop, vase in hand. Browning still sold t-shirts and anything else he thought would sell. He showed me a pile of shirts made for the reverend of his church. 

“A donation of mine for a special event there,” he said and added “You have to do things for good you know.”

As I left, he ask me where I was from, “Charlotte” I replied. Knowing though from his expression, he gauged me not originally from the South. 

I turned and started to walk out the door. Mr Brown put his hand on my shoulder, “I just wanted to say a blessing for your trip back. The road is long as is the history here.”