Saturday, January 8, 2022

small town life

In 1963 my father and mother bought a small store in Valley Nebraska. My father, having worked for various corporations and as manager of a large hardware and sporting goods store in Omaha wanted a business of his own and a small inheritance from my great aunt Allene, gave my parents some funds to invest. 

Valley Home Furnishings, as the store was called featured hardware on one side and a variety of other goods on the other, and I worked in the store with my dad on weekends and summers when I was in high school and summers during my 4 years of college. My mother was teaching kindergarten in Omaha, so my parents kept their home there and my father commuted each day for the 30 mile trip to and from Valley.

Valley was sandwiched between the Union Pacific Railroad on one side and the Platte River on the other and business was gradually being shifted from the town to the larger city to the east. One poet had called Omaha the "Paris of the Pigbelt," and shopping malls being developed on the west side of the city were gradually taking business away from outlying small shops like the one my mom and dad bought in 1963.

The effects of the railroad passing through town, and Valley being a switching yard for trains going east, west and north north, meant that autos passing in and out of town often had to stop and wait for trains, not just passing by, but going slowly back and forth as freight cars were unhooked and rearranged.

My time working in my dad's store had a profound effect on my attitudes about life and about people, and it had some effect on my choosing to live in a small town dedicated to the arts. 

Shall, I tell more while we wait for a passing train? Or is it OK that we as a society are consumed and swallowed up in the pigbelt? I have this idea (shared with many others, that small is wonderful as well as beautiful and that our souls call out for less, not more).

In the wood shop I've been finishing boxes that were started as demonstration boxes for teaching. Get them finished well and get them out of here! It's part of my plan to simplify.

Make, fix and create...

No comments: