When I was a kid, there was in my family's village in Italy, a little shop selling everything around sewing and fabrics, from baby socks to old lady white underwear, to rubans and buttons. In English the shop is called a haberdashery, merceria in Italian. I love these kind of words, evocative of a world long gone, filled with secrets and mystery.
The owner, an adorable man - he could have been gay, but I don't think he was, he was more like an extravagant actor - was the real attraction. His nick name was “Sbrillo", which didn't mean anything in particular, but to my kid's imagination it reminded me of the word “Brillant".
Everyone who would open the door with its little bell sound, would be received with joy, eccentricity, and kindness. He found pleasure in everything, greeting you like you were the most important person in the world, displaying various models and colors with pride and large gestures, wrapping the articles with attention and in the most delicate way, like little gifts even if it was just pins. I loved visiting him, even without the excuse of buying something. I often spent time sitting in the corner of the shop, just to watch his delightful parade.
Nowadays when I go visit the cemetery where my family members are buried, I like walking by his tomb to see the portrait of his smiling face on the oval ceramic plate. My heart gets a little pinch each time, remembering those sweet moments.