In these days of online shopping and restaurant and grocery delivery, it’s easy to take the benefits of living in a small town for granted.
In my grandparents’ generation, everyone seemed to know everyone. Your kids played together. You went to church together. You gossiped over the back fence together. When someone needed something, it was usually just a holler away.
Of course, there’s a downside to those days because even if you don’t know what you’re doing, odds are someone else does and there were the things that “nobody talks about” yet many did in hushed whispers.
I know I’m often guilty of focusing on the negatives of small-town life in the course of any given week.
But after a busy morning running errands, I was reminded of how great we have it right here in our little town.
It was my day off and I began it by cleaning my dining room (not a great way to spend a day off, I’ll admit).
We had just had an unexpected extended visit from our Virginia-based grandkids and I realized we were short on kid-friendly dinnerware.
I am not a fan of online shopping. I like to see it, touch it and walk out of the store with it, rather than scroll through pages of way too many choices and wait a couple days for it to arrive.
I’m also not a fan of that big store on the edge of town that my husband refers to as “the retailer of last resort.”
So I made a quick call to Kidcycle Consignment to ask if they had plastic dinnerware in stock.
I’ll pause here and say if you have kids or grandchildren, you need to visit this shop! They have clothes and puzzles and toys and almost everything you need to care for the littles, and not only is it reasonably priced, but you’re also giving new use to gently-used goods and supporting a small business.
Of course, they had what I was looking for, so my best friend with four paws, Daisy, and I hopped in the car and headed in that direction.
Daisy is a 4-year-old soft-coated wheaten terrier and she is a doll, but we don’t always agree on things. I enjoy a nice drive and the occasional journey with no destination. Daisy, however, gets super excited about the ride, but once she gets in the car, she’s all about the destination.
Heaven forbid, I get out of the car and leave her behind to wait. To say she is less than amused is an understatement. As I walk across the parking lot, you’d swear she was being tortured. I think it’s probably just a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
As we got into town, we had to stop at the drive-thru of a local bank. Daisy much prefers the drive-thru, but she’s always on guard, ready to whine if I make a move toward the door handle.
When the tube returned within reach, we were both excited to find the teller had sent a dog biscuit for Daisy. That just made her trip!
Next, we stopped at Kidcycle and picked up exactly what I was looking for, plus a few outfits for the “new family favorite” 2-month-old because, well, that’s what grammys do!
At this point, we were nearing lunch and I was thinking about one of my happy places on the square, so I dialed up Sapporo for carryout.
I’m not a big raw fish person, so I usually opt for the maki, and Sapporo makes darned good rolls. But the menu item I’ve yet to find better anywhere else is their clear soup. You don’t have to like seafood or rice to become a fan.
I have no clue what’s in it other than some mushrooms and carrots and maybe green onion, but whatever they do to their broth is magical. It’s not heavy on soy sauce, nor is it salty. It is a treat that I enjoy when I am in town around mealtime.
Sushi and soup in bag, I returned to my waiting BFF and we arrived home happy.
It was a simple trip, but with tangible rewards and real people who expressed appreciation for the business.
That’s what I love about our little town!
Andrea Rose is managing editor of Local.News, a mother, grandmother and dog mom. She enjoys writing about the hidden gems in the community.