Sunday, January 9, 2022

Small town life, page 2

Valley Nebraska where my dad's store was located was typical of the situation all across the US as small towns were gradually being gobbled up by the expansion of larger cities. Shopping in Omaha offered a much wider variety of goods than what my father could offer in his store. He did take a lower than normal markup on many things and gave credit to many folks who could not have been afforded credit at the time. 

Working in my dad's store put me in touch with people from all walks of life. Louis Siebenaler for example, operated an auto salvage at King Lake, Nebraska, an unincorporated town nearby. He and his son-in-law Coy would come in covered with grease from head to toe. Louis was a large man and Coy small, and it was always apparent in how Louis smiled that they had serious affection for each other. 

Ted Reser was the town blacksmith at a time when most folks would rather buy new than fix old. He was rather deaf from the sound of his hammer striking the anvil, smelled of soot and sweat and was very proud of his physique. He told me more than once that the ladies in the bar next door expressed their admiration for his shoulders and strong arms. 

There were of course, others that came in throughout the day. farmers in overalls, women hunting through the selection of greeting cards and the like. My dad had a genuine warmth for all. And so, why in the world would any of this be important now? Perhaps because we've let things grow completely out of hand, and no longer matter as much to each other as we once did.

Because of my banking in the local bank and being known there, when a Chevy dealer in Indiana called the Bank of Valley to assure themselves that the hippy with a broken down Chevy van could actually pay for their service to my truck, the dealer was shocked at the glowing credit report offered by the bank on behalf. "Yes, Mr. Stowe," they said. "We'll get right to work."And so when we live on a smaller scale and make a few friends along the way, and stay put long enough to be known and kind enough to be respected, there's a very simple formula in that, and it's one that can be repeated even without living in a small town.

Make, fix and create...

No comments: