Thursday, October 23, 2014

Small town living

I grew up in a small town. It's not everyone's cup of tea because it can be hard to be anonymous there. I remember as kids if we decided to hitchhike (something we were forbidden to do), we'd put our thumbs down when we recognized the car, because we didn't want someone telling our parents we were hitchhiking. So yes, we'd pray for strangers to pick us up. Tick another thing I never told me parents because it would cause too much worry.

Indeed, even now, my hometown looks like something from a Norman Rockwell painting, and the first time Himself was there, we were driving down Main Street. I was doing the driving so he could look, and while it did my heart good to see the familiar street once again, Himself was agog as we passed the butcher's shop. One of the clerks was carrying a lady's groceries to her car. Himself remarked on it, and I turned to look.

"Oh, that's Don!" I cried, happy to see a familiar face, as it had been a long time since I'd visited my hometown.

"I feel as if we're in a live-action Norman Rockwell painting," said Himself, and I turned to look at him. I simply felt that spirit of community I always had in my hometown. And it made me keenly aware how that spirit was missing from where we were then living.

I currently live in a small town, and like my hometown, it too has a large summertime population. More tourists here than we had at home, and they mix with the summer people. Once the summer is over, and by summer's end, I mean Labor Day as opposed to the calendar's 23 September, there's a collective sigh of relief as the roads are suddenly not as clogged with out-of-state license plates crawling along gawking rather than driving up to speed.

The respite is but a breather before the "leaf peepers" as they are known come to view the gorgeous fall colour as the leaves change from their summer hue. Where I am now, peak season is late September or early October. In my hometown, it's mid-October. This week's Nor'easter has blown down many of the leaves, so late leaf peepers here will have precious little colour to see on the trees, but plenty on the roadways.

There are any number of merchants here who are open seasonally, and many have end-of-season sales. I've taken advantage of those sales to snap up Christmas or birthday gifts, and there's a more relaxed air walking into their shops. Some will say how their season went. Some lie about how their season went, but I think this year's season was a pretty good one for many.

One of the places that happens to have a seasonal sale is a local furniture store. They have nice items, reasonably priced, and also offer decorating services. They deliver for a fee, and I think it's free if you're within 10 miles. I'm outside that 10-mile circle, but have stopped in from time to time to see what they have. Earlier on, I found a lovely chair that I really liked that would be ideal in the bedroom. It was made for someone shorter, so yes, I can sit comfortably and have my feet touch the ground. I hemmed and hawed about getting it, decided that while I liked it very much, it was in the want rather than need category, so didn't get it.

Then I received their post card in the mail about their seasonal sale, and went looking. There was the chair. It was half off, and I had the money, so snapped it up. Since I have a truck, I could take it home myself and save the delivery fee, so we worked out when I could pick it up.

Once I got it home, I discovered, much to my dismay, that all my doorways are just a bit too small. It took some finagling, but I finally got it in the house. It's currently in the dining room, where it shall stay until I have the bedroom upstairs ready for it. Himself is still not able to help move it as he is still recovering from his shoulder surgery, and I do think I'll need someone to help me take it upstairs. It's not all that heavy but rather unwieldy for me to carry myself AND negotiate the steps, because I'm not in the most graceful set of God's creatures.

When I picked out the chair, several of the furniture store employees' faces fell. I apologized if they had their eye on the chair as well. "Oh, we can always order it for them if they want one," the woman who was writing out the slip said. They nodded forlornly, and I got the sense that they had hoped to get it at the discounted price, too, which probably now wouldn't happen.

Within a week of purchasing the chair, I got a lovely note from the furniture store, thanking me for my purchase, hoping I enjoy the blue chair very much, and they enclosed the decorator's card, in case I had any questions or needed help. Yes, some might be more cynical and say it was just a way to promote their business, but I was touched by the simple, hand-written note. I can't tell you the last time I got one from any business, and there've been any number of them where I spent more than I did on this chair.


  1. I think that receiving a handwritten note from a business is quite amazing. It used to be the norm. Now it's an anomaly, and I think it's great.


    1. Janie, I will say that it firmed up in my mind that if I have other furniture needs, they'll be the first place I check.

  2. Small town or no, that shop owner knows how to make a customer extra happy. The extra mile is always done with grace. She's a winner, as well as a keeper.

    1. Joanne, I agree. Since moving here, we haven't really needed any new furniture, but several people told me they had nice things, and I figured i'd see what they had before I was in need of anything. Oh, and I forgot to mention, a dog is often there. She's one of the employees' dog, and when I went to pick up the chair, she greeted me happily. I haven't seen her every time I've visited, but each time she has been there, she greets every customer.

  3. My native village was the most beautiful place. Ancient houses, village pond, good small shops etc. But it is situated just south of London, and quite near Gatwick airport (the second busiest in the world), so the aircraft noise is now all-invading. What a shame.

    1. That is sad, Cro. The house I currently is very near the corner of a busy roadway. The traffic noise is more than I had in my last location, which was very little indeed, and I still find it noisome. But, I do love the house, the location is very handy, and in winter, we're one of the first places ploughed. The house is old for US standards but 19th century homes across the Pond are still considered newish.

  4. I grew up in a small town in Iowa. I don't think that I could ever go back. There's everyone knowing you and then there's everyone remarking on you....