This post originally appeared September 30, 2018, on the Chile Today Hot Tamale! website. (www.chiletodayhottamale.net)
Very soon I will be 66 years of age, and I have spent 39 of those years (59%, if you are interested in the math) in small towns. I could hardly wait to escape the small town of my youth, but by the time we began to have children, the attraction of the city (Baltimore, at that time) began to fade. In the early 1980s, Baltimore was not the disaster area it is now, but it was clear that a small town environment would offer benefits that Baltimore could not offer. And so we moved.
The move back to a large metro area filled a void in my wife’s life; that is, the absence of shopping malls closer than 66 miles from home. But I had been spoiled, and reasonably soon after the split I found myself in the small town of Madison, Georgia.
Small towns may not be idyllic, but they are fairly close to it. The one drawback to a small town is the lack of places to shop. In Madison there are only two places (Walmart excluded) for men to buy clothes. There is only one office supply store. The hardware store closed down when the owner retired, so every little repair around the house now requires a trip out to Lowes. Don’t get me wrong, Lowes is a very fine store, and I’m happy that we have one in town, but I do miss the interaction with the owner of the hardware store, and his well-informed staff. I believe the nearest shopping mall is in Athens (29 miles) or Conyers (35 miles). (I don’t know for sure, as I try very hard to avoid those places.) The nearest gun range is in Monroe (23 miles).
Amazon has gone a long way to alleviating the shopping problem for small towns. I cannot find my favorite mouthwash in any store in town, so I order it through Amazon. Our one bookstore closed down several years ago, but the pain of that closing has been partially mitigated by Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook. (I still miss standing in the stacks, thumbing through a book, though. We do hit the Barnes and Noble in Athens on every trip there.)
But there is one shopping problem that Amazon cannot solve, and that is the problem of the missing Bavarian Cream doughnut.
I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but I prefer the northern Dunkin’ Donuts (Canton, Massachusetts) to the southern Krispy Kreme (Winston-Salem, North Carolina). My two great-great grandfathers who fought for the Confederate States during the late War of Northern Aggression must be turning over in their graves. Nevertheless, that is life. The doughnut in his highest form is the Bavarian Cream doughnut produced by Dunkin’ Donuts. (Their coffee is pretty darn good, as well.) Krispy Kreme offers nothing that comes close to the Bavarian Cream doughnut. And Madison does not have a Dunkin’ Donuts.
But we will soon. Or so they say.
A bit ago I read a notice in the local paper that we would soon have a Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins of our very own. That was around the same time that the local paper announced that we would soon get a Bojangles’ fast food joint. Well, Bojangles’ is here, open, and apparently doing a nice business. Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand, may or may not be here. The building has been finished, the parking lot is paved, and the landscaping (traditionally the last item on the construction list) is completed. But it isn’t open.
I drive by the place every morning on the way to work, while it is still dark outside. The interior of the store is lit up every morning, but there are no people, and importantly, no doughnuts. Why do they wait? Don’t they realize that I am in dire need of a Bavarian Cream fix? Oh, the woes of small town life!
I am beginning to feel like Vladimir or Estragon, awaiting the arrival of Godot. Yes, I am waiting on Dunkin’, and the messenger continues to tell me that Dunkin’ will not be arriving today, but surely tomorrow.