Monday, May 14, 2012
Small Town Life
I recently moved back to the Okanagan Valley in south central British Columbia. A long, meandering lake stretching 135 km gives the valley its name. Green and lush where irrigated, I suspect that the area would revert to desert if deprived of water. Clusters of cactus are plentiful in among the sage and the Ponderosa pines on the hillsides.
Fruit, wine and tourism are our major industries. Light industry accounts for a lot of jobs, but we don’t have any major polluters. In the summer the lake is the main draw. In wine season, the many wineries are crowded with tasters. In the winter, a half dozen or so ski resorts attract skiers from all over the world. Not Utopia, but close.
I had been living on Vancouver Island for three years and when I returned several people remarked that they hadn’t seen me for a while. Oh, it was good to be back.
I went grocery shopping last week. I pushed the grocery cart to my car, unloaded the bags, and returned the cart, feeling more than a little smug that I hadn’t left the cart in the lot where other carts competed for space with the cars.
That do-good feeling lasted until I got home. My purse was missing. I searched the car, the grocery bags, but it was nowhere to be found. Could I have left it in the grocery cart? Unlikely, but I jumped back in my car and drove right back.
I walked into the store and a cashier looked up. “I’ll bet you’re looking for your purse,” she said, and handed it back to me. “A man found it in a cart and brought it in.”
Perhaps if I hadn’t been so busy congratulating myself about returning the cart, I would have noticed it.
Or perhaps not. But I won’t soon forget why I like living in a small town.