Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ten Things.....


I have stated on many, MANY occasions my disdain for the town in which I work. After I met my sweet, wonderful Papa Bear I moved from Small(ish)town, USA, which included some FAB eat joints and a couple of Starbucks (oh the money I have spent on triple venti white mochas……) to Paradise, USA. Now, Paradise, USA, is wonderful. Beautiful; gentle sloping hills, green things as far as the eye can see, flowers, songbirds, the whole nine yards and there are very few people who live there. A true rural southern community. Not incorporated. We have a school, a family market, a fish house, a gas station, a family clinic, a dollar store, a post office, a local library (about the size of my living room that is on the verge of closing due to a lack of funds), a parts store (since we live in a farming community) and a chemical plant which probably employs almost half of the community. There are a couple of banks and a slew of Baptist churches along with the food pantry they support and the place where all the farmers take their peanuts to be processed. Life is good in Paradise where everyone knows everyone and the whole community is at the football field on Friday nights where the bleachers are a solid mass of blue and white. God has definitely kissed the land upon which we hang our hats and I am eternally grateful for the lush and bountiful landscape that I am able to breathe in daily.

The town in which I work, however, well let’s just say that it leaves much to be desired. The shopping mall was probably nice with its 6 stores back when it was built 30 years ago. There is no Starbucks, ergo, no white mochas to be had. It is a dirty concrete jungle cramped in between a giant muddy waterway and a horribly polluted river that is notorious for flooding, which only adds to said pollution. With that being said, since it is cram packed in between two bodies of water, there is ONE way in and ONE way out. Now, this is not nearly the size of Small(ish)town, but large enough that it makes the “rush hour” traffic an absolute nightmare. It reminds me of when I lived in coastal South Carolina and had to evacuate for the hurricanes…….if any of you have ever had to evacuate for a hurricane, you can totally sympathize with my plight. Bumper to bumper starting from the center of town where it starts to thin out on the outside of town until you are finally able to breathe and see God’s country the closer you get to Paradise, USA. I dread it every single morning. I curse it at lunch. At 5:00 my biggest priority is to get out of the Jungle and get to Paradise as fast as I possibly can because that is my ultimate happy place. God’s country with the people I love. Yes, a happy place.

Now. Since I have made my loathing of this place common knowledge, I will have to be brutally honest and state that I do not absolutely positively hate everything about this town, which is the purpose of this post. There are things that I like about this place and I have managed to find several happy things and places scouring this town on a daily basis Therefore, I am going to share 10 things that I love so I do not seem like the eternal pessimist. And, just as an *FYI* I did not have to sit and rack my brain for these…..they came quite naturally.

First and foremost – THE YARN STORE. I think I literally heard a choir of angels sing when I opened the front door. This place has got any kind of yarn you could want. It is organized by weight and goes all the way around the building. So you work your way down from the big tremendous super mega bulky wool yarn down to the most delicate hand-beaded sequin silk yarn (Artyarn – which is breathtakingly beautiful and coincidentally goes for a whopping $125.00/skien). There are hand-dyed hanks of yarn and exotic fibers. I bought some FABULOUS mohair in there to make my beautiful sister a scarf. It is the same pale blue as her eyes and hopefully I will get it finished before Christmas. (ha) Not even in Small(ish)town did we have such a rare gem. I think I shall pay them a visit tomorrow, actually…..it has been a while.

Second (and really in no specific order): The gyros. An old college friend mentioned gyros at this place across town and I was curious since I love me some good lamb. It probably comes from a fond childhood memory of my Father taking me to a place called Keifer’s in Jackson, Mississippi, that has AMAZING food. My first experience with a gyro…. Anyway, this place in the Jungle is a non-descript Chevron station, referred to by the locals as “the sandwich shop.” They make the biggest, fattest gyros I have ever had. They are SOOOOO good and are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP, or as Papa would say, they are “economical.” The place is literally packed every time I have been by there and there is always a line. Yum. Love that place. They probably make more money off of the food than they do beer and cigarettes, which for the rural south is saying A LOT. J

Third: The grocery store across town. Now, this may not seem like a big ordeal, but TRUST me – it is huge. I am definitely a foodie and it has been quite distressing to not have a good grocery anywhere. Now, the local market in Paradise is wonderful for when you need to run and pick up something quick and easy for supper, or if we need bacon for tomorrow’s breakfast. But to out and out grocery shop? Boy, have I been down in the dumps for a WHILE. However, today – yes today – and the whole inspiration for this post – I went to the grocery store all the way on the edge of the other side of town. It took me twenty minutes (on my lunch hour) to get there. I had the same experience as I did when I went into the yarn store and when I went into the Village Cloth Shop in Dekalb, MS. Jaw dropping. Choir of Angels. Now, I have been in far greater grocery stores, but it has been a while and in much bigger places. This place, however, totally rocked. Oh, it was wonderful! It was CLEAN! They had variety! They had organic foods! THEY HAD MAYFIELD TURTLE TRACKS ICE CREAM! Be still my little southern heart. I was like a junkie in a crack store. Seriously. I spent $170.00 at the grocery store on my LUNCH HOUR and had to cram all the cold items (and ice cream) into the office refrigerator! LOL

Fourth: Beans and Cream: Ah the local coffee/ice cream shop. Have I mentioned how I love both? Now, it is not really that local to my office, since I have to drive across to the other side of town, but they BY FAR have the best coffee in town. There is only one other coffee shop and I reckon I will have to check it out before I can make that official, but I do love that there is at least one good place in town that I can get a hot cup of heavenly Joe.

Fifth: the YMCA. Yes, the Y. I love the fact that I am right across the street from the Y. I hate that I do not utilize it more and am going to try and make it a point to do so for stress relief purposes J

Sixth: My job. Alright. I do tend to really gripe about my job. And my boss. But here is the skinny on both: They aren't really as bad as I make out. I do not have a physically demanding job. I am a paralegal. I do, however, have a stressful job when we are under the gun and fighting a deadline and my fingers will only type so fast. But all in all I love the fact that I am the only person who works here and I am lucky that my office is across the street from the Courthouse, which has a lovely clock tower that chimes every 30 mintues. I sit in solitude for most of the day and I am able to enjoy peace and quiet. Working in a place like Wal-Mart (although I am not dissing Wal-Mart or their employees) would drive me crazy. Too much hustle and bustle,,,,,too many people,,,,,,too many opportunities to be subjected to the swine flu and any and all other such maladies. I do love that I can sit at my desk in the quiet and if it is slow I can do things like sit and type posts on the things I like about the town I hate. I love this old office that looks and smells like an old law office and I love the bazillions of dusty old law books all down the hallway and covering all four walls (floor to ceiling) of the library. J

Seventh: My boss……well, let’s just say he is a one-of-a-kind. An old, hard-nosed trial lawyer. He is quirky, no doubt. He is horrifically disorganized and has tons of senior moments. However, he is also almost 70 and runs 4 miles every day. He was a member of the military as part of the special forces. He knows every single thing about the history of this town, as he is 4th generation of his family to be rooted here and still lives in the ancestral home. He walks all over downtown running errands and picks up business on his way back from the post office, and does things like trade legal work with the lady that owns the local shoe store for free shoes. He jokes about settling his cases over eggs like a gentleman at the local Hardees. Sure, he treats me like I am a mindless set of boobs, but he was there when the civil rights movement and women’s lib were in full swing. To him, I am just a secretary that is supposed to look pretty, type and make coffee with a smile on my face. He tells me that he expects me to be a lady….... He is something straight out of a John Grisham novel. He does not know how to use a computer (which he refers to as “the machines”) and sits back in the law library piled under dusty law books doing research while he eats his afternoon snack (every single day) of mixed nuts, tropical trail mix, grapes and diet coke. He is a GOOD attorney and he is sharp as a tack. I would let him defend me for anything, if I could afford him…….ha.

Eighth: The healthfood store. Nothing really that spectacular about the healthfood store; I am just thankful that there IS one J

Ninth: The Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is not really along the river. It is along the Tenn-Tom Waterway, but whatever. It is 2.5 (I think) miles of trails along the waterway and through the woods. It is always neat and has really nice landscaping and is absolutely beautiful in the fall. I love to walk out there and probably will when it cools off some. It is just too dang hot right now.


Tenth: Strawberry cake at CafĂ© on Main. It is the Bell’s Best strawberry cake with strawberry icing. Enough said.


There it is – my ten things I like about the concrete Jungle. I hate the commute and I hate the traffic, but I spend my lunch hour every day trying to find redeemable qualities. And just for an added bonus:

Eleventh: The Farmer’s market. It is a true gem. There are local musicians playing street music and college kids selling homemade soy candles right next to the typical southern farmer selling blackberries their kids picked and the Amish selling their baked goods across from the hippie guy with the organic farm that looks like the unibomber, and the children selling their sunflowers out of 5-gallon buckets, and my neighbor who makes her summer spending money selling homemade salsa.

With the 25 rows of peas/beans that Papa planted for us, I might join in on that action!

~~Gena

1 comment:

  1. I can see it all. Well said... I wanna visit!!!

    ReplyDelete