Jellies. Jewels. Glass. Honey and fudge. Unique clothing designers. Sports memorabilia. Soaps and lotions.  Artists, on site, creating magic at their easels. The  Arts, Crafts, Hobbies Building, CNE Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto) is now closed. 

Working 18 days straight is considered a long stretch in our world of motion. Craft show vendors united in the set up, the venture, the take down. The show may be over but memories remain.

One young customer, barely out of his teens, cautiously hovered at the edge of our booth. I gave him his space. He mused. I let him be. He entered. Perused the signs, seemingly intrigued. Cautiously, he picked up a shampoo soap bar. Instinct is to smell, and he did, replacing it neatly.

I approached and greeted him. His gaze shifted to the charcoal clay soap. I picked up his interest and offered the bar. He asked, “ What do you do with that?” His innocence precluded any attempt at frivolity.

“This is a bar soap. You wash with it, head to toe. It is both a soap and shampoo. Similar to what your great grandpa might have used. He stared at the bar.  “And then, wide-eyed, “What do you do with it after?” He was serious. I replied, “You place it in a soap dish.” He was silent.  I was smiling. “You are truly aging me. You have never used a real soap bar, have you? You have always pumped your soap or body wash, correct?” He acquiesced.

“Do you know the small shelves or dishes sometimes offered in a bath or shower? Some are rippled. You place the soap onto the shelf or dish and the air circulates under the soap to help keep it dry. He nodded. He was beginning to get it.

Demonstrating, I placed a charcoal soap onto one of the carved soapstone soap dishes that we offer, nestled in display on the table. He smiled acknowledgement.

Surely this old fashioned way to wash was an interesting bit of history for him.

I further explained the benefits of a real soap. I warned him to beware of ‘perfumes’ and unnatural dyes.  Now that he knew soap existed in a bar form, I further cautioned him to avoid synthetic bars, which contained chemicals that could irritant the skin.’ (See article Soap or Detergent? Liquid or Bar?)

He thanked me for the lesson and seemed genuinely pleased with this new knowledge. The seeds were planted and that was my goal.

Bar soaps. Real. Handmade. Nourishing. Part of history.