Life is good in a small town

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2011

If you live in a small town, you might occasionally gripe about its disadvantages. On the other hand, there are times when the advantage of small town life is evident. I recognized one recently.

A wave of stifling hot air engulfed me. The sun’s rays beamed warm on my head as I pushed my shopping cart out of the store. I headed to row number 8 in the parking lot, popped my car trunk lid with my remote, and put my keys in the trunk. I transferred my bags from the cart to the trunk, and reached up and pulled the lid down. “Oh my goodness, my keys,” I groaned.

So there I stood in the parking lot staring at my car trunk, sweating in 100-degree heat and who knows how high humidity, with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. “I knew better than that,” I scolded myself and headed back inside the air-conditioned store. I plopped down on a bench, dug my emergency road service card out of my billfold, and scrambled in my purse for my cell phone. I’d never noticed how noisy a store could be before. I listened to an automated message twice before I finally heard it clearly and then punched a number to speak to a real live person—a very nice person. I explained my situation and answered all her questions. Between my trying to hear her over the noise around me and the difficulty she experienced finding my location, the minutes ticked away. She searched diligently for the store address. For some strange reason, she had an incorrect listing in her map material.

I held on until she was finally ready to contact someone to help me. She said she would call me back with that information. From previous experience, I suspected it would be someone out of town. That meant another long wait. I had an idea. “Tell you what,” I said. “While you do that, I’ll just cruise around here in the store and look for somebody I know. Maybe I can find someone to take me home to get another car key.”

I started at the front of the store and walked toward the back. I paused to look down each aisle, searching for a familiar face. I was approaching the back of the store when I saw a couple I knew. I got right down to business after we said our hellos. “I’ve locked my keys in my car. Would you mind taking me home to pick up an extra set and bringing me back?” They graciously offered to do so. In a few minutes, they met me at the front of the store, drove me home, waited while I got my key, and took me to my car. They even waited to make sure the key worked in my car door.

The road service representative was surprised on call-back. “That’s one of the advantages of living in a small town,” I said.