Metropolitan Homesick Blues

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Macs Redux

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The Trials of Living in a Small Town

In my very first Blog on this site I wrote about the routine pleasure of venturing out for my morning paper.

“Big city newspapers don’t get home delivery in small towns. Which means getting out of bed, getting dressed, getting in your car and driving into town to Mac’s Milk on Highway 21 to see if the Star has made it from Toronto three hours down the road.”

That was back in January 2008.

A year later nothing has changed. I’m still a creature of a habit that relentlessly starts my day, regardless of weather. There’s the odd time that the Star doesn’t make it. So I make do with the Globe or the Owen Sound Sun Times. There was one stretch where the Star was consistently late and the others were on time. I sent off an email to TorStar but they never answered. They probably don’t care about some small town complainer. Where’s the equity in making me happy?

Notwithstanding (love that word) I came smack up against the reality of small town living this morning. Macs was closed. The lights were on. The door was locked. The place was empty. And there was no way I could get my hands on a morning paper.

Just then, the guy who delivers the papers arrived with what I wanted. 

“Where are they?” he said.

“I dunno,” was my simple reply.

“Guess I’ll just leave them out here. I got other deliveries to make in Port.”

“But it’s snowing.”

“Too bad. They’re wrapped.”

“Can I take one? They know me. I’m a regular. I’ll pay them tomorrow.”

He looked at me like I was some kind of thief. “Nope. They count ‘em. If they’re short, it costs me.”

Tempted as I was, I resisted. As I watched him leave I realized that there was no other place in town that (a) had papers and (b) were open. Southampton was deserted.

And that’s the thing about small towns. You can’t always get what you want. Here in Southampton there’s one radio station and it doesn’t program Jazz or Classical Music. The local paper only comes out once a week. The Saugeen Times is up-to-date and available daily online but it’s not the same as holding and folding newsprint. Nobody carries the weekend New York Times and there’s no bookstore that stocks newspapers from around the world.

Am I complaining? Not really. Are there things I miss? Definitely!

But, yesterday, driving along Lake Huron’s shoreline we saw two Bald Eagles riding on the wind. This morning they glided high above my backyard.img_41481
Deer tracks crisscross the snow. They wander through scratching for wild apples in the snow and munching on tender Sumac branches.

The fishing boats are out of the water and dry-docked in the harbour parking lot. 

img_40341There is pack ice on the shoreline and floes floating down the river towards the harbour mouth.

Winter sunsets burn up the sky. A full moon lights up my neighbourhood. Walking after a snowstorm leads you through pristine paths. And winter quiet has restoratives powers you just can’t buy in the big city.

I never did get my paper. I went back after 7:00 AM and Macs was still closed. Tomorrow morning, I’ll ask them what happened.

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Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

December 19, 2008 at 6:55 PM

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