One less negative to living in this small southern town.

Living in this wonderful relatively small town certainly has very powerful advantages and disadvantages.  Some we are clearly aware of almost on a daily basis, and others we may not be.  Linda and I could live almost anywhere at this point in our life.  We love to travel, but we really love living right here.  I'll be talking about the many reasons we are so happy living right where we are in future blogs.  But for now, I'm going to move into an area that I typically have a short fuse for;  negativity, the problems with living in a small town.

I've got to get back to work in a minute, so I'll just touch on the ones that come to mind:

1)  diversity.  To me, this is probably the biggest negative.  Diversity of, well everything.  Cultures, ideas, vantage points, food, colors, accents, design, architecture, music, art, entertainment.  Well, with awareness and inexpensive flights these days, this too can be compensated for.  Really appreciating and savoring the few diverse exchanges that do arise right here.  I recently had this conversation with a customer from Santa Cruz, who didn't seem to believe that they had possibly any more true diversity than we might.  Maybe more cultures, etc, but there didn't seem to be much of a mix.  (I'm guessing she's wrong, but really hard to say).

Ok, looking like most of the rest of my negatives of living in a small town seem to relate to #1.

Food.  Almost everything food related - we are short on;Decent grocery stores.  Decent restaurants.  Cooking stores.  Cooking classes.

2)  Lets start with restaurants.  Often I come to the conclusion that my Buddhist friends are right in many ways.  If you look deep enough, maybe there is no wrong or bad.  Very few good restaurants in the area has made Linda a great cook.  And, it's certainly inspired us, when we travel, to get off the beaten path, to plan each meal that we can, and enjoy (and hopefully learn from) each wonderful smell, taste and every morsel.

3)  Decent grocery stores.  It has seemed absolutely ridiculous that we have never had a good grocery store in this city of almost 40,000 and combined population of 100,000 of the quad cities.  A few years ago Aldi arrived, just in time for many of us.  Although many here don't like Aldi, don't want to loan the a quarter for the cart, don't want to bring there own green bag in or pay a nickel for a bag, and say they don't like the off brands.  But many of us have come to cherish Aldi.  Really good produce, and cheap!  But it's not gorgeous, lined up, and shined like a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, or Fresh Market, Super Target, or our recent favorite Earth Fare.  But none of these compare (to me) to the local farmer's markets - with really local produce - ah - looking forward to Spring.

Ok, now for the reason for this blog post.  Linda was almost in tears this morning when she brought in the paper.  The front page of the local paper - 55,000 square foot Publix to be built on the Books-A-Million site (another big favorite of ours).  Ok, the city commission will not ether confirm or deny this, but we are already counting on it. 

This is big.  Just not having a good grocery store has sent many friends of ours packing.  Ok, let me think, what will be our first purchases when they open:

1)  an olive and artichoke mix from the olive bar

2)  bread (oh, did I say that we don't even have a bakery here!).  Fresh french baguette, heavy crusty whole grain bread, Real sour dough.  Except for corn bread, the southern versions of breads generally don't compare.

3)  Sushi to go.  Although I'm sure I will generally continue to get my sushi from our absolute fav, the Rice Box in North Florence.

4)  Gourmet Deli.  Ok, it's 9:40 and I've worked myself up into a big hunger.  Back to our Buddhist friend's thoughts.  Perhaps this Publix isn't such a good idea.  Maybe Publix and a gym membership will be the trick.  Maybe I should like the city council "confirm or deny" this before I get too excited.

Robin Wade