I live in small town. Not quite hick-town small, but small enough that it can sometimes feel like the Cheers Bar where everybody knows your name. It has its pluses and minuses, and sometimes it’s just plain funny. I thought I’d share a couple with you today.
The first story happened over 25 years ago and simply epitomizes life in a small town. One of my husband’s assistants had a new baby, and I was going out to her house to deliver a gift and see her sweet little bundle of joy. I’d never been to her house before so I asked her how to get there. In typical small town fashion she told me to take the main road out of town to the north, turn right at the split, and go to the first white house on the right. She added that her door would be unlocked so I should just come right in – don’t bother to knock.
I followed her directions perfectly. I drove to the first white house I saw after the turn, which was a farmhouse, and drove into the driveway. After I parked my car and gathered the gift I walked into the house through the back door. I quietly called out, “Hello?” Pretty soon an older woman (who was probably the age I am now) came around the corner with a big smile on her face to greet me. I was sort of surprised but figured she must be another family member. I said, “Oh hi, are you Ann’s mom?” (We were still both smiling at this moment.) She replied, “No.” Hmmm . . . curious. “This is Ann’s house, isn’t it?” Still smiling she responded, “No.” I explained that Ann told me that she lived in the first white house after the turn, to which my new friend whose name I still don’t know replied, “You must have missed it. It’s behind some trees about a half mile back.”
What’s odd was the woman never really questioned why a complete stranger was in her house. I’m just lucky she showed up with a smile instead of a shotgun!
My second story just happened recently but needs a bit of introduction. I’m not trying to be prideful when I say this, but I’m very good at parallel parking. I had an amazing instructor when I took driver’s training, and I’ve never forgotten the method he taught me. When our kids were learning how to drive I taught it to them, after first removing the method they were learning from their instructor out of their minds. Usually when I’m parallel parking I can line my car up, back it into the parking place, and be in perfect position – except for when I can’t.
Every now and again I simply start the process all wrong, and it just goes downhill from there. And that’s how I found myself one day recently when I was trying to get to a haircut appointment. I must have pulled that car forward and backward 40 times to get it right. I was praying that no one was watching, because quite frankly, it was pathetic.
But of course, as is most always the case, just at the moment when you hope no one is looking, there is. As I climbed out of my car I noticed the local jeweler was putting the finishing touches on his window display. We’ve known each other for years, and he always makes me laugh so I peeked my head in the door on my way to the hair salon. He was now at the back of the store and I didn’t notice he was on the phone until after I’d yelled to him, “I’m really much better at parallel parking than it may have appeared.” He nodded, and that’s when I saw he was on the phone so I hurried along to get to my appointment.
Because maintenance takes so much longer as you age, I was probably in the salon for a couple of hours. When I returned to my car I saw a business card tucked into the window slot on the driver’s side. It was from the jeweler and simply read, “We hear that all the time.” Cracked. Me. Up.
And, of course, the next time I had to parallel park, and did so perfectly, he was nowhere to be seen.
Nancy loves to laugh and considers laughter a critical part of human survival. If you were to ask, most days she would say her glass is half full but when it starts reaching the half-empty level, she reaches for a funny book or movie knowing that indeed “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Nancy has three married sons and five grandchildren. To read more from Nancy find her at www.nancyholte.com.
Great stories — I grew up in a small town, and wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else. Also, and completely unrelated, I’m totally jealous of your parallel-parking skills. 🙂