Small Town

Oct 5, 2015 by

A small town is made up of more layers than a Danish pastry. Starting on the surface, the sun sparkles on the leaves reflected in the shop windows. Depending on when you came to this town, you may know this place as Romul’s, Ann’s Panz, or Paris Fair.

There was a time the sidewalks rolled up at 5:00. On Sundays the streets sat empty. Why would anyone come downtown? J C Penney’s closed and the empty store looked like a missing tooth in an otherwise friendly smile. If one tooth was lost, chances were good more would follow.

Yet, when my husband forgot to go to Hill’s Pharmacy for some really important asthma medication before it closed, we called the pharmacist at home. He met us downtown and we got what we needed for my daughter. That only happens when you know your neighbors.

The wind was always here. It became a commodity, blowing hot and cold on the residents of the town. It brought color, sails, and some good dental work for the economy. Out of sight, the forests began to collect stillness alongside the logging roads. Orchards of luscious pears and delectable apples still filled the bins each fall.

The “ugly locals” t-shirts became a sort of wry protest against the free-spirited wind folk that overtook the town and beaches with their money and leisure. Legend has it that summer residents were overheard to say, “Have you ever seen so many ugly locals?” Artists designed shirts with guys wearing baseball caps that said “Paraquat,” and kids wearing overalls. There was even a fourth of July parade with a group proudly wearing this mark of local status.

Over time, we learned to share the beauty and uniqueness of our town. It is hard to keep secret the valley flanked by two mountains with rivers hugging its borders. Now the breeze blows gently across the table and carries the scent of roasted coffee and freshly baked pastries. Locals and visitors chat about common ground.

Yes, parking is a pain. It is hard to live here if you’re poor. Depending on where you stand, you might feel a gust or a gale, but the winds of change are here to stay.

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