Small Town, Big Hearts
We are fortunate. Do you know that?
Small town living isn't for everyone. Pros and cons come with living it, same as big cities. One thing you don't get too often in the big city though is getting to know your neighbor or community. You might get a snippet, but you don't get to know everything.
We know EVERYTHING. At least we think we do.
Being in the flower business brings a little more visibility to some underground secrets. When one might order flowers for both wife and mistress at the same time, one might be sending condolence flowers before the funeral home has been called, or when someone has suffered a terrible illness, or when someone might be celebrating a birth or milestone day, that has yet to be shared publicly.
All these little details are filtered through the store and our job, our MAIN job is to keep them in the four walls that surround us.
I pride the store on just that, keeping it in the four walls. At times though, it makes me a bit stand-off'ish, trying to protect information from flowing. Sometimes that information is mine.
I am an import in our little town. Import - defined as one not birthed and raised here for at least 3 to 4 generations. Although I've been here for 17 years, I'm still a newbie. I'd like to think of it as adding some branches to some family trees. Everyone here is near related if not related, cousin, wife, husband, sister, brother and on and on. Keeping your mouth shut in a small town comes with benefits, not doing it comes with consequences.
Raising children in a small community is so wonderful. Not having family close by has made us dependent on the chatter of good folks to let us in on little secrets that our teens may not have otherwise told us about. Its a wonderful neighborhood watch and having local schools with local teachers, small class sizes has had major benefits too. I'm sure at times my children would otherwise disagree.
Over the last 12 years, employees have come and gone, some local and raised for many generations, others imports too. It can be hard to tell who is friend or foe. Who will be able to keep the secrets that need to be kept, the privacy private. In fairness, not knowing what shouldn't pass through your lips, not thinking that it might be used against someone, is more difficult.
In the last year and a half I have pulled away from most social functions [thank you for the help Covid] and blog posting has been limited. I try to be candid, truthful and transparent, always, and I try to live my life on the morals I was raised with. It can be a sharp knife though, to give the gift of trust and assume the other person has and keeps the same morals you do. And it happened. Someone took it upon themselves to use my personal stance on a situation publicly and it slighted a group of individuals views on me and of course my business. Then someone who I thought was a friend shared some private information from my life and it secretly went a little wild among that group. All without my knowledge. Until the email. It went as far as to send me a nasty email using my own words in my blog against me and to lay fault upon me for another businesses lack of success.
My ego, like anyone's, can be baited by someone's ignorance, misinformation and failure to see the truth that was laid before them. Apparently, its in my horoscope sign to naturally defend but in this case I didn't. I didn't respond at all. I've always been a fighter, but in this case I didn't want to. I couldn't believe that someone could be so righteous to send such an email, at a time when we were closed due to a pandemic and after losing my Dad. I took it as a definition of who they were as people. Crass and cruel, suffering from hurt themselves. Selfish and self serving.
I have spent the last year wondering, pondering, reflecting. Wondering if always teaching my children to walk away from the fight is the right answer. There will always be someone who wants to throw snowballs. Do we always have to walk away or can we make the mountain we climbed have an avalanche and take them [snowball throwers] out and their fort too?
That's the con of living in a small town. Friend or Foe? You just don't know. In big cities you don't get close enough to give it a thought. But here you have to. Not every smile is a friend and not every listening ear, keeps a mouth from running.
I know. They will now know that I got the email. How? They are reading this. See, it keeps it alive in them. Always looking. Waiting for the reaction.
If I've learned anything in small town living is to keep on, keeping on. There are big hearts here and we are attracted to each other.
All you can do is smile, go about your business and keep climbing the mountain. When you get to the top, you'll see who is there [who isn't] to great you with high fives and fist bumps. What you'll hear is the sound of our laughter echoing loud enough to start that avalanche.
To my friends with listening ears and quiet mouths, thank you.
To my foes smiling at me, keep smiling.
Until next time,
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