One of the questions often asked by city folk is why we live in our small town. Why do you want to stay in such a slow moving place? Why don’t you want to be where things are happening more, hustling and bustling? Some things cannot be easily explained but are certainly easy to understand. I was reminded of why I live where I live and do what I do last week.
My friend Sheridan’s business got an unexpected visitor that crashed into her store front. Luckily, no one was injured and the damage was minimal in the big scheme of things. What happened that followed is the best part. Within minutes of word getting out about the crash, many friends dropped in to offer support and assistance in whatever that needed to be done. This took me back to three years ago when my family’s business, an independent drug store, sustained a devastating fire. It was my friend Sheridan and her husband Jon who met us at the store that rainy morning. We watched helplessly as the firemen fought to salvage our livelihood. Other friends dropped by to offer assistance, support, or just a hug. Those gestures of kindness meant so much and are never forgotten.
When faced with such unexpected adversity, you never know what you’ll do until you have to look those demons in the eye. In moments like this, you just have to kick into gear and stay on track. The fire at the drug store began at 7:00 a.m.. By 11:00 a.m. Sheridan and I had confirmed a temporary location to relocate the drug store. We were open for business three days later, the following Monday at 8:30 a.m. It was a stressful weekend of crazy preparation and lots of hours from friends who very generously volunteered their time to make it happen. Forty-eight hours of sleeplessness was worth it to know that we did it. We were able to open and not let anything devastate our business or our spirit. This determination is not derived from selfishness, but rather comes from community and the people who shape our community. Those who depend on you and appreciate the role we each play in being a part of something greater. I saw this determination come into play last week in Sheridan and her employees who switched into gear without even realizing what they were actually accomplishing in the midst of this unexpected storm. The overwhelming support from our locals who refuse to let you give up is all the reassurance you need should you even have time to doubt your desire to move forward. Moments like this truly demonstrate that it does take a village and that village is like family.
One thing is for certain, no matter how much pettiness may go on amongst us all during times of ease and comfort, when one of us is under fire, we all rise to the occasion to help. We may argue and fuss among ourselves, but let an outsider come into threaten and Katie bar the door! The fight is on to protect our own. As an older friend once said, “Ours is the kind of town that will talk about you all day and stay up with you all night.’ Totally true and totally a great place to be.
It is all of those little details, the mundane, the boring, the expected, and sometimes the surprises that make what you do so worth while. Knowing you were able to do something to make others feel special gives you the nod that you’re answering your calling. Those homemade goodies prepared with love in a customer’s kitchen and calls and visits to share family news are just a few of the priceless gestures that warm your heart each day. Gifts and acts purely from the heart make working and living here completely worth while. I am glad the rest of the world doesn’t know what I do about this place.