Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting Off the Mountain

Getting Off the Mountain

Last Friday was “town” day for us. Living just off the one lane road, and having been snowbound since before December 18th, you would think we would have been suffering from the proverbial cabin fever.

Actually not. In fact, just the opposite. Going to town once in awhile, is a necessity, not a pleasure. Stuff has no fascination because living “out here” is pure bliss.

On the other hand, we do get to the point of needing a few things we can’t make or didn’t grow. I must also admit, though, to a certain belief in something that a friend noted, long years ago: “If you don’t get off the mountain once in awhile, Elora,” she admonished, “you get funny.”

So part of going to town, is designed to prevent “funniness.”

The best part of going, is that except for library books (vital for keeping us entertained and educated as the blizzard howls outside), we don’t really need all that much. A replacement elbow for the woodstove, some electricians’ tape, a printer cartridge, paper towels (used sparingly) We plan ahead for town trips, saving up our needs and resist impulse buying, doing our part to reduce consumerism to its rightful, but not prominent, place in the GDP.

Certainly, shopping till we’re dropping, isn’t entertainment. Nor is it one of life’s rewards, except when we shop at home. We shop for food by visiting the basement and by browsing the freezer where we find the abundant fruits of our last summer’s labor filling the shelves and offering wonderfully healthful eating all year long. Jars and packages filled with greens...

dried beans....


...and strawberries, plums, apples, peaches, chicken, pork, asparagus, snow peas, green beans, carrots, parsnips, beets and so much more. If truth be told, we eat better than royalty. Best of all, we know where our food came from. We get our milk, butter, and cheese totally fresh and with all the vitamins still intact, right here from our own cow; our eggs—at least most of the winter—are chicken-direct. So, other than a few off-farm necessities, we simply don’t need town very often.

Years ago, we had a system that allowed us to skip going out even for library books. It was called Mail-A-Book and was designed to serve more “remote” regions of the county using the postal service and their near zero postage rates (at the time) for library material distribution and return. Patrons could select, I believe, four books (for each family member) keep them for two weeks and return them by mail.

But long ago, the postal service went the way of becoming a “profit-making” enterprise, (and is now nearly bankrupt, I might add) and these types of book services were deemed “costly” and “inefficient.” So, like most good things which have served rural America, we have no rural “constituency” (translated, no money to pay off the powers that be) for maintaining these kinds of services. But I wonder, since when did a post office have to make a profit?? USPS stands for United States Postal SERVICE. As I recall, though, they went into the retail business, instead, selling Bugs Bunny neckties.

Oh, well. If we still had the Mail-A-Book program, we’d be back to the funniness issue. At least going to the library gets us cleaned up once in awhile! We just don’t spend very much, but at least we stay sane!

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