February 20, 2012 §
Small town living – so many things I love about it. I see it with a different perspective than those who were born to it. I think it’s the ultimate in semi-minimalist living. To me it’s about seeing limits and embracing them:
- We don’t have 24-hour anything — our stores are open Mon-Sat 10a-5p.
- We have very few chains — our local mom-and-pops rarely carry national brands so you get to discover things on your own without the benefit of advertising.
- We have fewer than a dozen eateries — if you want a server to come to your table, even fewer.
In the beginning, my inner big-city girl resisted these limits. I had no interest in shopping at what I considered to be overpriced boutiques. I boycotted shops that weren’t interested in being conveniently open for me (I work a full-time corporate job). I traveled to the other side of town to shop in familiar big boxes with extended hours and bogo (buy-one-get-one) deals. I lamented the availability of my favorite chain eateries and the knowledge that no matter the location, my food would always taste the same.
Today — after four years and an attempt to align my spending with my values — I cherish my small town limits. I’ve come to know my shopkeepers and I would never begrudge them their evenings and Sundays because I know that they are present and involved in their businesses and are genuinely interested in carrying things that I like. They share my values — buying things from smaller manufacturers (made locally where possible) — the people who haven’t mass-produced for the sake of price point. They set things aside for me and place special orders for me. They do this for the other women in town — not just me — and I treasure the little snippets of conversations with long-time residents as glimpses into the history and culture of my town.
My family and I have become regulars at our little eateries and our meals out are more like visits with friends than “food outsourcing.” Our Thanksgiving meal this past holiday was especially memorable. As local residents filed in for their meal, a favorite local character chatted with us from his stool at the bar and our bus driver stopped in for a take-out meal for an old high school teacher. We offered to cover these meals as our own little way of giving “thanks;” but found that the meals were already covered by other townsfolk as a regular occurrence.
“For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” – John F. Kennedy