We move to a quaint village of about 4,000 residence thirteen years ago. It was definitely a change for us. Traffic included farm machinery creeping down the street rather than cars zooming in and out of the lanes. One fast food sandwich shop sat on a prominent corner rather than a glow of neon lights flashing like fireflies in the night sky. Our neighborhood street was quiet, very QUIET. You could see billions of stars in the sky with a front row seat better than the best planetarium.
One day I needed just a few item from the grocery store. I didn’t wish to make a longer drive so I decided to try our small market. My first stop was the meat department with its beautiful display choices. Now “beautiful” may sound like a poor word choice for describing meat. The display looked like a food magazine had staged the best selection for their photo shoot. I asked for two pork chops. The butcher replied, ‘Which ones?” I pointed to the section of center cut chops. He replied, “Which one of these would you like?” I’ll take the third one from the top and the second one from the bottom. Just a few more items to put into the cart and I am ready to proceed to the checkout lane. An elder gentlemen was buying less than ten items in front of me. He conversed with the clerk, turned to the counter behind him, and proceeded to pour himself a cup of coffee. After adding and stirring the correct proportion of sugar and cream, he turned back to the clerk to continue his conversation. They smiled, laughed, and continued to exchange pleasantries until he finally paid. To my surprise, the clerk was eager to get to know this new person in her line. She offered me free coffee and a sweet, friendly conversation ensued.
I must confess that I was shocked at the length of time I was waiting in line. After all, I was use to the fast pace transactions happening by the hundreds in the larger cities. What a difference a short encounter in a small grocery store made. Living in my small village following the tractors, smiling and saying hello to anyone you meet, and watching the stars peacefully in a rocking chair can really alleviate the stresses of the day. Yes, there’s no place like home.