Okay, my birthday was last month, it’s true. But for the last few months, I’ve been going in and out of the Village Tannery eyeing (and yes, occasionally fondling) their leather bags because the satchel I use on my teaching days (my “grownup” satchel, as opposed to the ratty old canvas totes I use for crashing around the city)  gave up the ghost in August. The straps simply shredded beyond the point of repair. 

The Tannery has been a village institution for more years than I can remember–and it’s a bit of a vanishing breed: one of the last stores where the designers and craftsmen work right in the shop making things that are one of a kind.  When I was in graduate school, I used to walk past the original store, which is still on Bleeker just off of 6th Avenue, and wish that someday I could replace my beat-up backpack with one of their creations. 

Today “someday” finally came.  Months of wandering in and out of the store, chatting with the shopkeeper and designer, looking at the artisans in the back of the shop, where they make the bags (yes! hand-made by actual hands, in an actual store, in the actual city where I live. amazing); months of thinking “who am I to afford such a bag?”

Well…my birthday came and went, ushering me firmly over the hill into my late forties;  and mom sent me a little  “happy happy” money and so did dad, and then my sweet sister (who doesn’t live in the city) went to the trouble of getting me a Tannery gift certificate for another little chunk, and then Husband and I went to lunch today (discounted because of Restaurant Week)…we were right around the corner from the shop, I’d had two bloody marys with lunch (never  shop after drinking, let that be the lesson) and…

To paraphrase Jane Eyre:  Reader, I bought it.

This photo can’t do it justice. The leather like buttah, baby; the saturated color of the straps; the attention to detail (two slanted zipper pockets on each outside edge, a phone pocket inside, another zipper pocket inside–and did I say that the zippers are dark green?); the fact that if anything goes wrong with it ever,  the owners will fix it free of charge.

It’s enough to make a girl happy about going to work.