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The Case of the Bon Bon Basket

Some of my fondest memories of growing up were the times I spent at my great Aunt Lorena's house. Aunt Lorena always let me stay up late to watch The Johnny Carson Show with her while we ate a late-night snack together. I ate my first nachos (the kind that come in the Old El Paso kit) with her during one of my stays, and she even let me drink soda right before bed! Aunt Lorena always kept a glass of Pepsi sitting on her nightstand to enjoy as she read romance novels into the wee hours.  

While Aunt Lorena immersed herself in romance stories in her downstairs bedroom, I was in the one of the guest bedrooms upstairs reading the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries that used to belong to my older cousins. After reading into the night, I would eventually fall asleep. I didn't sleep in too late, though. It was too much fun to drink the ready-mixed chocolate milk Aunt Lorena kept in the fridge with my breakfast. Later, I would go upstairs to brush my teeth with Aquafresh toothpaste. That striped toothpaste was infinitely cooler than the plain white paste we used at home. While in the upstairs bathroom, I'd sit at the vanity with its electric magnifying mirror and pretend that I was the glamorous Nancy Drew.

The thrill of those mysteries still infects me on occasion. A couple of years ago, I read a book by author Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. She loves the charming historic areas of downtown Wilmington and has set several of her murder mysteries in our town: Murder at the Azalea Festival, Murder on the Ghost Walk, Murder at Wrightsville Beach and more. Now, every time I go to The Pilot House restaurant on the Cape Fear River, I think of the heroine in Murder on the Ghost Walk whose physical description is uncannily close to that of Nancy Drew.

While walking downtown recently, I stopped in at the new headquarters for Una Luna World Gallery on 226 South Front Street. Una Luna has been around for years, but they just recently set up shop in a building with lots of local history (old-timers will know it as the old Taste of Country breakfast buffet). This import company was started by two teachers looking to supplement their meager income.  The business eventually grew to a full-time venture, specializing in importing handcrafted products from Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. I met the owner, Marcus (pictured here), who really knows his stuff! As I admired baskets, artwork, purses, and home décor items, Marcus told me great stories about the people that make them, the materials they use, their techniques and their inspiration.

When he learned about my business, Marcus immediately went to find The Bon Bon Basket. The Bon Bon Basket is made from savannah grass and raffia by the women of the Chani region of Zimbabwe. "Why is it called The Bon Bon Basket", I asked. Although lovely, it certainly didn't look the ideal way to store bon bons to me! I had finally stumped Marcus; he didn't know. Back home, I sleuthed on the internet, but my research proved futile. So far, here are my hypotheses based on the clues I have found:
1) It has a round hole in the middle that looks like a mini bon bon. 
2) It is made with grasses that are tinted pink and brown which we all know are ideal bon bon colors. 
3) "Bon" means good and "bon bon" means doubly good. The craftsmanship on this basket is so very well done, perhaps its maker just declared it "bon bon".

Looks like I'll be on this case for a while...

In addition to keeping regular store hours, Una Luna World Gallery supports local artists and features an artist each month with "Full Moon Fridays" (always on the Friday closest to the full moon). The event includes live music and a wine tasting. If you're in the area, go check them out, and see if you can find more clues to solve the mystery of The Bon Bon Basket.

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