This town is a dot; a very small dot. There are bigger dot cities, and then there is that marvelous blue dot-globe called the world. I moved here not willingly, and learned a few things. The more space between people it seems the less privacy there is, because gossip is entertainment since there isn’t a lot of anything else. The most amazing part is that what goes on in this dot seems, and is the most important thing in life to its residents. No place exists, no people matter but what happens in this tiny world. These are good people, and like the badger in Ice Age the locals say, “I was born in this hole, and I am going to die in this hole.” I think I paraphrased a bit, and speaking of death the one question besides where do you live is that all-consuming question of, “Where are your relatives buried?” It is true people. Now I understand this, and it took me some time. It is a matter of security, keeping the dot in order so it doesn’t branch out and became an oblong shape or something. These things I don’t take personally, but look at it from a distance, (since that is where I am located in conjunction with the dot, :) ) as a read on human nature.
Hopefully, this is not in me, wanting to only see it my way. I hope and feel that I am all-dot inclusive as long as the dot is not criminal. Which brings me to crickets! The big talk now since the crime rate is zero, almost, is the cricket invasion. Business owners are pitching a fuss against mother nature because it involves dollars and cents; and the locals are talking about the nastiness of killing the critters or the option and disadvantage of letting them stay. It was front page news! I love this town. I was reminded of a guy that tried to start a store in a beaten downtown area, and all the old dotters sat on a bench and laughed. Said he would never make it! That was only his first store. I don’t know how many Sam Walton has built since then, and his family. I know at one point at least fourteen (?) years ago they were building one store a day. See, little can see big things. You never know! Maybe inside these cricket ridden shops is a tycoon just waiting to happen.
Personally, I love the best of both worlds. I could hardly wait to move from concrete to the green space of the tiny place, but now I could enjoy the electric commerce of the city, live that happiness, and then swing right out past the suburbs into the countryside and watch a spider web glisten in the sunlight as it waits in-between the corners of the porch and do so with just as much happiness.
But since I live here an occasional visit to metropolitan glory will have to suffice. But I have never seen a billboard as big along this country highway as I did yesterday, and not in any city. The bright yellow background with the XXXL grandma smiling down at the drivers as she held a plate of “homemade country meals,” caused me to nearly drive off of the road. I pride myself on not being manipulated easily by commercials, but the thought of a meat market closer to home and less gas to spend set me off to the address.
Now this place is located a tad deeper in the country of “where might your folks be buried?,” than normal. So I had to be extra friendly. Too bad I had to order because my lack of extreme southern twang was a sure sign that I was an alien to this land. Sure enough, there was an old dotter complete with overalls standing in line. “How are you doing, Sir?” I said softly. He said his name very fast and started quoting an old poem about foxes jumping over the fence. His daughter led him to the door and apologized. She leaned in close and I could tell she was very stressed. “He has dementia,” she whispered. I told her I understood completely because I take care of a loved one and I gave her a big hug. She wanted to talk some more. This is so difficult she said, and I could tell that she was new to this trouble. “Only an angel could do this job perfectly,” I told her. I thought, but there is nothing easy about it. She smiled worriedly and left.
I wanted to tell her, so life would be easier, that it will always be difficult. That everyday you will say hello and goodbye to what is less and less of the person you love. It isn’t a farewell like the family that stands around the hospital bed knowing that this was probably the last day to see the object of your love responding to you. Every day will be the last day. But accepting that not anything, not even love, not hard work or a strong will can give you back the person that you understood….accepting this will help so much. It isn’t up to you to fix those neurons, and that disease that hollows out the inside leaving the outside to finally wither and cave to what had been going on for so long. Acceptance ends the strength of the frustration.
When you have done the nurturing enough, you grow up to it and you can respond with simple love. Not the kind that longs for things to be better and tries so very hard, but the kind that sits in the rocking chair soothingly knowing that it isn’t going anywhere and will only be a salve for a time. A salve that will not heal, but create a thin paper like dignity to wrap around a world that has diminished at no fault of its victim. Since you will be stronger, when you hear the question, “Who are you? What is your name?” The tears don’t have to flow. They can be small and you can say, “I am your daughter.” And she can say, “I didn’t know. I am glad. A daughter is a special thing to have, ” as the night lights of the local fast food place zing into your car and hamburgers are a fine meal. For a moment, she can say hello.
So, up to the meat counter I walked, and ordered some turkey thinly sliced for sandwiches. Wouldn’t you know it? The guy finally asked me, “And where do you live?” I told him, and said the yellow billboard was difficult to miss. I got a turn to ask a question, “How long have you been in business?” Since, 2003! I really do live out of the loop of it all. And the answer to that burning question of who is buried where…is yes… I do have a close relative buried right in the dot. There was no sense in answering to the affirmative; I am way to un-dot like anyway to be accepted. People there is a whole globe out there! I love the good people that I have known, but I feel the concrete calling me back to freeways and smog. Maybe someday!