Simplicity and Small Towns

Do you ever have days where you’re overcome with gratitude? I do. I had one yesterday, and although Thanksgiving is less than a week away, that had nothing to do with it. Sometimes I just get all fired-up with how grateful and blessed I really am.

It started with dinner. I had a long day and didn’t want to cook -as we sat at the local pizza store and waited for our order, I was SO GRATEFUL that my dinner was being made for me. I looked around the pizza shop and watched people from town file in and out. I looked at the mural paintings on the wall, painted by a former local that has since passed away. I watched a member of the recently-crowned-state-champs football team take and make orders. He was helped by an athletic high school girl and a soon-to-be sister missionary. But it wasn’t enough. Apparently, nobody in town wanted to cook last night, and our poor little pizza shop was flooded with orders. The owners called in help from down the street: a mother of a large family. They paid her in gourmet ice cream. I watched as her children and husband sat in the dining area, eating ice cream and watching movies.
The owners of the store were smart enough to build a party room onto the store. It seats a pretty good crowd, and there’s always ALWAYS a kid friendly movie projected onto the far wall.

We were able to visit with everyone who came in, and then we took our order home.
Earlier that evening, we’d gone to the local gas station/movie rental/hamburger joint. I’d wanted to rent a movie, and while I was there the High School woodshop teacher/junior high wrestling coach walked in. I heard him ask the woman working the front desk if they had the movie “Frequency.” She said they didn’t. I said, “I have it!” And so, after we had our pizza and rented movie in hand, I scooped up my copy of “Frequency” and took it to his family.

He answered the door, and his daughter, who’s about three, popped in front of him.
“I have a little brother,” she said. (He was recently born.)
“You do?” I asked, pretending to be surprised.
“Yeah,” she nodded. She was wearing Tinkerbell pajamas that were disguised as a fairy dress.
“Are you Tinkerbell or Hailey?” I asked.
“Tinkerbell,” she sighed. “Do YOU have Tinkerbell ‘jamas?”
I had to admit that I didn’t. I tried to make up for it by telling her that my daughter does.
That satisfied her.

As I drove away, I was even more grateful for small towns. I’m grateful that I know Hailey’s name. I’m grateful that our small town pizza store can call the family a few houses over and have the mom come into work for a few minutes. I’m grateful for small businesses and small towns and the strong sense of community both of them have.

I’m grateful that we’re going into the city today and making a day of it. I love getting caught up in the hustle of the streets and stores, but only for a day.

After that, I’d liked to be plunked back down in my simple stop-light-less town that requires me to return the movie I rented yesterday or they’ll personally call and remind me about their late-fee policy.

As I was going through the motions of getting my website switched over, the man on the tech-help line asked me where I was from. When I told him, he said he’d lived in our state his entire life and had never heard of the town. I was more than happy to tell him where it was, how big it was, how many kids were enrolled in school, and how great it was to live cut-off from busy living. He then asked me how many sites I needed.
“Five?” I asked, “Or maybe six. Hold on…” I started listing them out loud, “There’s the cooking one, and the crafts one, and the home preschool one…”
He stopped me, “You do all that yourself?”
And I laughed, “Yeah, I guess that’s all you can do when you live so far out here.”

I thought about pointing out to him that my sites aren’t polished or fancy or amazing. I’m not a great cook or an amazing crafter. My sites won’t gain a large following. And I’m completely fine with that -I blog for my kids. Someday I’m going to be able to make a book from these blogs, and it will be filled with all of my favorite recipes. The kids will have that book for as long as they live and after I’m worm food.

I really thought about telling him that. But he seemed to think I really DID do it all and do it all well, and I sort of liked the idea being THAT woman.

Yes, Robert -my tech-help buddy -I clean and craft and cook and teach preschool everyday all day AND my house is spotless AND I have makeup on all the time. My clothes match. My visiting teaching is done. My family history is complete, and my children never step out of line… not because they’re naturally good, either. It’s because I’ve TAUGHT them so very well, thanks to my daily rigorous scripture reading that I engage in directly after my intense morning work out. My body, by the way? Looks amazing. No stretch marks. No mom gut. No acne. Hair-free legs. You should stop by sometime. My house and hair are the very mark of perfection.

Ha.
Now I need to excuse myself to take a shower, shave for the first time in 4 days (I heart cold weather), and look in the mirror for the first time today.
Today is going to be prodigious. I can already tell.