I celebrated my 65th birthday a couple of weeks ago. The Daughters hosted a small ‘sort-of surprise party’ for me and actually shocked me by getting a long-time friend from my junior high and high school years to fly in from Madison, Wisc., for the event. Yes, I was surprised!
She and I were able to share all manner of news, classmate scoops, and remember-when items from our past. She is a fan of unusual old buildings and cemeteries so we spent a day touring a couple of rural counties and she took pictures. As we poked around in interesting places, she was able to get some good shots.
We also shopped in most of the small towns we came across. We had good luck finding Kansas T-shirts, some terrific antiques and collectibles, food products, photographs and cards by local artists, and crafts galore. Cathy wasn’t buying a whole lot because of luggage restrictions on her return flight, but still we had purchased a wide selection of goods by the time we pointed the car back toward Peabody.
I expect we never got close to a large community with fast food, big box stores, discount retailers, and multiple lanes of traffic. We ate and shopped and bought in tiny towns in Butler, Chase, and Marion counties. We had good service and got directions to out-of-the-way cemeteries. My old Buick covered miles of blacktop roads that looked as if they would never reach any town. The day was sunny and gorgeous until a cold front blew in about mid-afternoon, but even that was stunning because we were in Chase County, an awesome place to be when the weather is changing on the horizon. It was great.
This past Saturday was Small Business Saturday, a day set aside across the country to shop locally and give back to your community. I was in a couple of Peabody businesses Saturday and the owners were busy with a steady stream of customers — many from out of town — doing just that. However, you don’t have to wait for a nationally designated day to support small businesses. There are plenty in this part of Kansas just waiting for you to drive into their community and discover their merchandise, smiles, and service.
Pick a day and try it yourself.
— Susan Marshall