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Posts Tagged ‘Small Town America’

 

A Drizzly July 3rd Entering Town

Bill and I rode to town this morning for errands.  It is a drizzly day today and supposed to be the same tomorrow.  But, I almost forgot tomorrow is Independence Day until we crossed the bridge that leads into and out of our nearby downtown.

The U.S. flags were flying gallantly patriotic and stood out, even in the drizzle and even through our never-too-clean, rain spotted windshield.

And then we saw it.  A magical hot air balloon!  I have always admired them from afar but have never really been close to one.

Saw it from a distance

What a thrill!

Bill parked the car and we were within steps of a mighty colorful hot air balloon!  Somehow I caught the fever and excitement.  A little crowd of families, young and old were waiting to take a tethered ride. Balloon Rides Here

And although flying balloons of this size were never a part of my July 4th holidays growing up, this one colorful beauty practically screamed, “CELEBRATE!  IT’S THE FOURTH OF JULY!”

Surely the enormity, power and grace of a floating giant must symbolize our American concept of freedom as it defies earth’s gravity and soars majestically into the skies.

We didn’t take a balloon ride this time but it’s on my bucket list for an un-tethered experience.  For now, it is enough just to have been close.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Happy Fourth of July

 

 

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Jobie - Man of Many Numbers

They say it is simply charming to live “where everybody knows your name.”

My nearby little town of Lexington, Virginia is like that, with one big difference.  There is a place in town where names don’t count – only numbers – membership numbers.  It’s the Rockbridge Farmers’ Co-op!

Farmers Coop SignWe have been gassing up the car at our local Farmer’s Cooperative for years and I actually forgot how to do-it- myself since the Co-Op insists on full service.  Now (being  spoiled  and pampered) I simply pull up to a pump and well –  wait.  Who could ask for anything more?

And along comes JOBIE, efficiently taking care of things while I wait and daydream, and when all is done, he hands me the receipt.  The bill then comes to Bill but to me, the gasoline is always free!

How is that remarkable?

 JOBIE KNOWS MY NUMBER.

IT’S A FIVE DIGIT MEMBERSHIP NUMBER.

AND JOBIE KNOWS IT BY HEART

                                           (ALONG WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHER NUMBERS)!

                                           and 

                                       JOBIE NEVER FORGETS!

 Is there something about my face?  Is that how he does it?

Does he recognize the peculiar dents and scratches on my car? 

Is it the license plate?  Naw.  That’s another set of numbers.

I  asked him how he recalls membership numbers out of the thousands of cars and people who come through.  And he simply shrugs and says, “Don’t know…. Just do.”

I am amazed!  I have been amazed for all these years and always hatching diabolical plans to mess him up.

Like when Bill and I go away on vacation I figure Jobie will forget the number.  “Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t work though.  We can be away for weeks, maybe years.  He never forgets.

Lately I have been challenging him by saying, “I’ll bet someone else is getting my gas bill!”  And he just smiles.  But the truth is he never makes a mistake!

There is real hidden talent in this country and I have told Jobie he should look around for a television show to feature his rare gift.  He allowed me to take his picture but I don’t know what  t.v. show to send it to.  Perhaps you, in cyberspace, will recognize pure genius and suggest a way to put this talent to good use.

I am proud to introduce you to an impressive young fellow –  Jobie – a Virginia Numbers Man.

 

 

 

 

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lady at computer clip artBill said we needed an oil change (before driving to Jessica’s graduation) and he finally remembered to call our friendly auto repair folks.  They were “closed from Thursday to Monday.”  Time was tight but  he waited and called again.

“We are all booked up today,” they said. “Bring it in and leave it overnight and we’ll work on it tomorrow.”

Ho hum.  Nothing new.  Frustrating.

But, that got me thinking.

I keep forgetting to call my hair dresser too, even though I am beginning to resemble Big Foot. 

And now it is late at night and the salon is closed.

I wish I could book an appointment right now, while I am on the computer writing this post.

Or I wish I could have done it earlier from my mobile phone, when we were out to dinner.

But of course, that’s just dreaming  because after hours around here, everything in town is closed.

Ah – but it turns out, I can book appointments after hours.

I can actually do all that.

Or I could – if my favorite businesses had online appointment options. booknow button

Actually, there is a world of instant online appointment scheduling out there.   Many businesses across the country offer it, and many people like me are enjoying it.

Only I’m not enjoying it yet!

I did find an interesting site/service for business owners though, called ScheduleYa.

I’m not a business owner of course, but I sure would like to share this site with my hairdresser.

It’s a Book Now system offered to local businesses anywhere in the country – for free.

The ScheduleYa website promises it only takes minutes for a business to set up an online Book Now button for easy appointment scheduling.

The thing is, where I live, near the magical town of Lexington, Virginia, most businesses do not have online reservations.

Do you have online booking options in your town?

Have you ever used a Book Now button to make an online appointment?

The whole thing is new to me, but I know I wish we had it.

So, I plan to share ScheduleYa (via this post, FB, and Twitter) with some of the places around here that require appointments:

  • beauty salons,
  • massage therapists
  • reflexologists
  • chiropractors,
  • pool maintenance companies,
  • electricians,
  • plumbers,
  • lawn service contractors,
  • auto repair shops,
  • local realtors,
  • dentists.

Maybe they will check out the free ScheduleYa option and will see the great value in service to their customers, a time-saver addition for their staff, and even a marketing tool for their businesses.

And maybe if only one of my favorites begins, the others will follow and we will all “be in business”.

A working ScheduleYa “Book Now” site:

JBC Tire -ScheduleYaSample

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Downtown Lexington, Virginia on Veterans Day 2014 - and View of Virginia Military Institute

Downtown Lexington, Virginia on Veterans Day 2014 – and View of Virginia Military Institute

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He-Men Movers YMCA

My local YMCA is bringing in all new resistance equipment!  They took the old stuff out yesterday and the new gear arrived today.  We old-time members will even have to be retrained on how to re-sculpt our bodies.

Bill and I were so excited we made a special trip to town today (on a non-workout day!) just to see all the new machines.  We had lunch at KindRoots Café, a charming little diner on the YMCA premises.  They have yummy local, fresh, good-for-you foods.

And as we enjoyed a no-guilt healthy lunch we watched the Y’s transformation.

Staff Trying Torture Chamber

Staff Trying Torture Chamber

A fleet of grimacing strong-men were maneuvering   the heavy, enormous looking equipment, trying to get it through the front doors.

“Be still my heart!” I warned.

But, my heart was not beating for the he-man brigade.  (Ha!  Gotcha  there!)  It was beating for the imagined image of the new body I will be sculpting once I learn the intricacies of these state of the art machines!

Bill Waiting for Me to Take Pictures

Bill Waiting for Me to Take Pictures

It does not take much to impress us here in rural areas of the Commonwealth of Virginia you know.

We live in the country or “out in the county” as the locals call it.  So the comings and goings of the seasons are usually enough excitement.  And as you may know, I tend to blog about the seasons ad nauseam.

But when it comes to fancy new gym equipment to replace the oft repaired machines we have been using for years and years, well now,  that’s the equivalent of  taking a first roller coaster ride on the biggest, wildest one ever.

This “Y” purchase is top o’ the line equipment minus nicks, dents, scratches, groans or squeaks.  It is already making us feel richly rewarded for sticking with the antique resistance gadgets of the past.

Yep – out with my old body and in with the new!  I wonder if I can even get up on that torture chamber thing.

If you come for a visit, I will be sure to take you to my YMCA for a tour.

Isn’t that something to look forward to?

Try to contain your excitement!

 

 

 

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Mail Boxes 3

The Case of the Vandalized Mail Box or Boxes

On my way out one morning this week I saw a dreadful thing.

There were two ruined mailboxes lying on the ground (in shambles) right next to our own mailbox!

I was astonished!   We had vandals in a peaceful rural community.

“What can be done about this horrible thing?”  I wondered, 

and as I drove by, I was thinking, “Tampering with the mail is a Federal offense!”

 “Maybe we should post hidden cameras around to detect the culprits.”

I was so alarmed that I reported the downed boxes to the President of our loosely knit association.

I also called a friend and neighbor to discuss possible solutions.

Both were lengthy conversations about the shock of such activity here in our quiet little enclave, and then about what could be done about it.

A Letter from the President

It was decided the President should write a note to alert everyone about the crime in Camelot (not to alarm anyone of course) and the possibility of other such incidents.

Call the Sheriff

It was also decided that each of us should contact the Sheriff to report the current problem.

Take Pictures

On the way home I stopped at the stricken mailboxes again.

My plan was to take a picture of the carnage (for the Sheriff’s records) and to circulate along with the President’s notice.

I was about to snap the photo when a car pulled up and a neighbor emerged.

I recognized her as one of the mail box marauders’ victims.

“Have you seen this mess?” I asked.  “ I am about to take a picture for the Sheriff.”

“Yes, ” she answered.  “I did it.  Did you think it was vandalism?”

“Uh – yes I did.”  

“I’m sorry!  We bought a new mailbox,” said she, “Something more modern and bigger.  All that remains is to dig the hole for the new post.”

I managed a weak smile and then a somewhat false hollow laugh, and trying to look poised and put together, I said something like,

“Well it’s a happy thing I ran into you, and if you will excuse me now, I have some phone calls to make!”

I’m sure my face was red from embarrassment.

Thus began another round of telephone calls.

To the President:   “It looked like 2 mailboxes because the old one had another one inside it, but both boxes belonged to Mr. and Mrs. X.  And the X’s got a new box to replace the old 2 boxes.  And we don’t need to write that notice after all, or to call the Sheriff now.”

Response:  “Would you please go through that again?”

To my Friend:  the same explanation as above.

Friend’s Response:  “Could you repeat that please?”

And To my Husband:  “Wanna hear a funny story?”

I did not take pictures of the downed boxes but will snap the new lineup before this goes out (just in case we need it for the Sheriff if there ever is vandalism in Camelot).

 

 

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I always feel a bit down on holidays like the 4th of July since our family is so scattered and so far, but I wistfully went through the motions this morning  planning for the usual hot dogs and burgers w/trimmings.  The fun was missing though, and there was still shopping to be done for the necessary ingredients.  Bill warned, “It’s gonna be crowded.”   He knows how much I HATE crowds.

Stop# 1 – Herman’s Roadside Country Store.

Herman's Market

 Yep, it was crowded.  Inside was abuzz with laughter and activity.  “Do you have lime to add to the soil?” asked one woman.  The jovial checker lady said, “Hang on!  I’ll ask.”  And she hollered at full volume to a gent at the rear of the store, “HAVE WE GOT LIME?”  And then she whispered to me, “Watch – I’ll bet he says Huhhhhh?”   And within 10 seconds he hollered back as if on cue, “Huhhhhh?”

This may not sound funny in writing as it did in person but everybody in the place cracked up.  I left laughing and with some great tomatoes.

Stop #2 – The YMCA Treadmill.

Merrily proceeding I decided to stop for 20 minutes to stroll on the treadmill to assuage pervasive guilt over sedentary slothfulness and imagined again the gym would be too crowded.  And yes, it was, but there was one treadmill available.  On the way out I met four friends and  stopped to chat, finally leaving energized and smiling and feeling noble about conquering slothful urges.

On the way out, there was this great old beat up farm truck that begged to be photographed!  Old Farm Truck

Stop #3 – The Grocery Store. 

Surely the supermarket would be mobbed and it was, but with a happy crowd.  A favorite member of my book club appeared in one aisle so we stopped to chat about the current book, Factory Girls.

Leaving the store and expecting a hot muggy trudge to the car, there was instead a lovely breeze to nudge me to the far end of the parking lot (favorite spot to work in extra steps).
The air felt so good I wanted to keep on walking but the frozen yogurt might have melted.

Stop #4 – Home.

Arriving home meant unloading (if Bill was snoozing or mowing the South 40) putting away all the groceries, washing all the fruits and veggies, then slicing, cutting and preparing for a traditional Independence Day feast.  I was happy but tired and had not begun the slicing and dicing when the phone rang.

Good friends suggested we all go out to dinner to the Natural Bridge Hotel.  Great idea!

Stop #5 – Natural Bridge Hotel.

Natural Bridge Hotel

“It will probably be empty,” was the day’s lament.  “Everybody’s home barbecuing.”  But the hotel dining room was mobbed and once again with a happy bunch of people.  We were seated right next to a talented guitar player who was playing at extremely close proximity, so table conversation was at the shouting level.

Our waitress had a name tag.  It said her name was Andrew.  “IS THAT REALLY YOUR NAME?” I yelled.  “I WEAR FAKE NAMES ALL THE TIME,” she yelled back.  That started us all laughing and it was hard to stop through the entire meal.  Her real name is Michelle (we think) and she says she has another job as a fire truck driver!  She also goes by the names of Brad or Francine.

I still sorely miss my family and friends who are scattered so far away but the fates must have conspired to force smiles and laughter on this particular Independence Day.

A song kept trying to erupt as the day progressed (and of course, you do not want to be around for that).  I think Perry Como made it famous and here are the lyrics.  Do you remember this song?

It’s a Good Day

Yes, it’s a good day for singing a song
And it’s a good day for moving along
Yes, it’s a good day, how can anything go wrong?
Good day from morning till night

‘Cause it’s a good day for shining your shoes
Yes, it’s a good day for losing your blues
Everything to gain, nothing to lose
‘Cause it’s a good day from morning till night

I said to the sun
“Good morning sun, rise and shine today”
You know you gotta get going if you’re gonna make a showing
And you gotta get the right away

‘Cause it’s a good day for paying your bills
And it’s a good day for curing your ills
So take a deep breath and throw away your pills
‘Cause it’s a good day from morning till night

When I woke up this morning, I was feeling all wrong
Couldn’t find any reason for a happy song
Then I combed my hair and I washed my face
And my little world fell into place

‘Cause it’s a good day for paying your bills
And it’s a good day for curing your ills
So take a deep breath, throw away your pills
‘Cause it’s a good day from morning till
Good day from morning till, good day from morning till night

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