One Small Voice. A Lot of Big Ideas. Let Freedom Ring!
I live in a rural area near a very small town, a half hour from a bigger town, and over an hour’s drive from the metropolitan area of a 2nd tier city. I love living in the country–most of the time. But any lifestyle choice involves compromise. You can either live with frustration or live with humor and reflection. I try for the latter. But often get caught up in the former.
In leui of starting a new blog to record my frustrations, reflections and humorous tales of small town living, I decided to post my Small Town Tales on my existing blog. I think of it not as a departure from Freedom, by the way but as an extension. This page is my freedom to vent. My freedom to share. My freedom of expression.
November 3, 2012
I like to read our local, weekly paper. It contains ”Personal Intelligence” column that informs readers that Sally Nickles had a visit from her granddaughter who goes to the big University and Dan Perkins competed in a half-marathon.It gives the same attention to minutia as it does to breaking news. And it gives every child the opportunity to get their picture in the paper at some point during their childhood. All you have to do is dress up real cute at Halloween, play a high school sport, be crowned homecoming queen or shoot any size buck or doe.
Any female who’s lived here long enough to get married or used to live here as growing up always gets her full name printed in the paper: first, maiden, married. It doesn’t matter if she’s a newly wed or had been married 50 years. I asked the editor about that when he wanted to print my “full” name on a byline. I told him it looked funny to me since I haven’t used my maiden name for a very long time. He said ,”Awww, pleaze! People here like that.” I shrugged. I guess he knows his readers want to know exactly who they’re reading about or who’s really behind the article. Could be some history there.
The thing I find most fascinating about our local paper is the advertising. I always learn something new. And often what I learn is a new word or turn of phrase.
Here are two ads from this week’s paper. (I have recreated the ads verbatim except proper names have been changed to protect the guilty)
Gee, I’ve only got 2 1/2 months to get my car deer-hit so I can enter the drawing for a new shotgun. Unfortunately, that isn’t too hard to do around here. I’ve had three deer-hit autos, already. Granted, the last one was 12 years ago but my chances of being deer-hit look pretty good this year since I’ve already had a couple of does cross my path.
And then there are the political ads. We’ve got a highly contested three-way race for County Commonwealth Attorney.
See chopperface at ddreporter.com. Top cop candidate Wes Burgess instigates, launches
personal castigation to bit victim in Perryville Fas Mart, still has not seen the video or
crime scene statements. Please elect us a commonwealth’s attorney that will not recoil
from view evidence like you’re holding an alligator.
I have not made up my mind about our local commonwealth’s attorney race. So I certainly plan to visit this website and see what the fuss is about. I don’t want a top cop that has the nerve to launch a personal castigation without knowing all the facts.
“Where do you go? The courthouse or DMV?” I asked.
”Hardees,” she said.
“You mean hamburger Hardees?”
“Yes,” she answered. Then she explained. 16-year olds in our state must complete a behind-the-wheel course before receiving their license. This course is taught to all tenth graders, during school hours, who have their learner’s license. Once the course is complete and the teen turns 16, then the driver’s education teacher issues a temporary license.
The teacher always meets the qualifying teen at Hardees in our small town to give them their license. (Teens in the neighboring small town receive their license at McDonald’s).
Later, the county courthouse sends a notice in the mail with a date that the teen must appear to receive their permanent license.
“But I’m not sure what time my daughter has to be at Hardees,” my friend said, “I called the teacher and she said to Facebook her.”
September 3, 2011
During my summer travels, I spent a few days in Suwannee County, Florida (To keep you from running for a map, Suwannee County is very rural county in Northwest Florida, near the panhandle, brushing the Suwannee River, but not near much else except Interstate 10.).
On my second day there as I was driving down a very rural road to Live Oak, the county’s one major town, one of my traveling companions asked, “Did you notice the mailboxes here?
I looked at a mailbox as we passed a dirt driveway. Then the next and the next. Every mailbox was facing away from the road. They all had turn-arounds for the mail truck off the road, though some were dangerously close or practically in the drainage ditch.
I’ve lived in several places in five states and have visited dozens of other cities and towns in numerous states from coast to coast. And nowhere have I seen a community where ever mailbox was facing the wrong way.
Quirky? I think so. But I kind of like quirky. How about you?
July 19, 2011
My new washer is being delivered today. I think. I’m quite excited because my old washer that we purchased second-hand along with a dryer for $75, has always leaked.
And then a few weeks ago it decided that the spin cycle was optional. So for the last several loads, when I lift the lid at the end of the run I’m never quite sure if I will find nicely wrung clothes or a dripping mess.
Before making my purchase, I researched washers extensively on the internet. I read dozens of reviews. And then I selected two washers that fit my needs and my budget. Two major retailers, both in the “big town” (not big city, just big town) 20 miles away carried one of my choices.
Last Wednesday, I went and purchased my washer. But delivery of my new machine seems to be an issue.
I was told they only deliver on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that I could have it Thursday if I wanted the floor model or Tuesday if I wanted one straight from the box. I figured there was nothing wrong with floor model. It’s not like it’s been run as a demo. The only moving part that has gotten any use was the lid. So I told them the sooner the better and the floor model was fine.
Then the salesman proceeded to tell me that their delivery guy pulled his back out the day before and he wasn’t sure that he would be recovered to make any deliveries on Thursday. I said, okay, just call me.
Of course I didn’t receive a phone call Thursday morning so I called them. The delivery guy with the bad back answered the phone and proceeded to tell me that he was in no condition to be hauling major appliances around that day. Okay. It’s Tuesday then.
Today is Tuesday. They open at 9:30. I wait until 10 to call. The same delivery guy with the bad back answers the phone.
“I was calling about my new washer that’s being delivered today,” I say, “I wanted to know when to expect you so I can make sure I’m around.”
“Well, I’m trying to get aholdta the guy that helps me but he won’t answer his cell phone. He called in earlier saying he had an upset stomach but I’m hopin’ to get out there sometime after lunch. Is that gonna mess you up?”
“Well, I was hoping for delivery this morning,” I answer. When I heard about the help with the upset stomach I was prompted to ask how his back was doing. But I caught myself.
I don’t want to know how he’s feeling. I don’t want to know about bad backs and upset stomachs. I just want my washer. Today.
I purposely didn’t go to a local Billy Bob’s Appliances because I thought I knew what to expect from a major retailer. They can’t afford to mess up, right?
Lesson Learned: Just because you’re dealing with a major brand name retailer, don’t expect the same level of service in a rural area as you would get in a more populated (i.e. competitive) market.
But on the other hand, where else but a small town can you learn about the physical maladies of your delivery people? Life’s a compromise.
Update 12: 34 p.m. Just received a call from the delivery guy with the bad back. He said they would be arriving shortly but were going to stop by Burger King on the way to get a burger. He did not offer to buy me lunch, as well, but I am so relieved to know they will not be arriving on an empty stomach.