Tag Archives: Small Towns

What Kind of Store?

Have you noticed lately that businesses are teaming up to lower costs?

Image by RobynsWorld from Pixabay.

If you’ve driven interstates, you’ve probably taken breaks at truck stops that combine gas stations, convenience stores, and fast-food restaurants. Highly visible, their diversity serves tired travelers who want to find only one exit — and parking spot.

Other restaurants also have joined forces. For a while, I could sky my cholesterol at either a building’s fried chicken half or taco section.

Recently, though, that trend has waned. Perhaps, employees were exchanging secret recipes. Or maybe, desiring job security, they started to mug customers, dragging them to their side.

Businesses offering contrasting services seem to post success rates. Scorning the logic of bookstore-coffee shop and doctor’s office-pharmacy combinations, they often appear in small towns. I’ve patronized a computer-tractor sales store, which New Yorkers might find … unusual. Also, a car repair garage that sold used furniture. I’ve drunk lattes brewed at a hardware store.

Occasionally, even we small-town types blink at business combos. Hubby, wanting his coat cleaned, found himself staring at a store window’s sandy beach scene. The tanning salon also served as a dry cleaner’s drop-off.

Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay.

When my mother visited our small town, I had to explain why I’d driven her to the laundromat to buy a Greyhound ticket.

Having pastored in an isolated Oregon town (population 37), Mom shouldn’t have found that strange. The solitary business there served as combination restaurant, bar, gas station, post office and bank. My parents probably were the only missionaries their supporters knew who cashed checks at the Dry Gulch Saloon.

Our son and his family have followed a similar unique path, attending Sunday morning services where a boxing club, GED classes, pickleball courts and a girls’ Roller Derby team are housed. I never before had praised God in sight of a boxing ring, but Jesus, with His grassroots approach, might not have found that odd.

I wonder why certain combination stores haven’t yet appeared. Take, for example, a car repair garage-nail salon. Supplied with massage chairs and earphones to soften clanky garage noises, female customers would never ask, “Is my car ready yet?”

Instead, they’d pay for an engine rebuild. (Anything to avoid fixing supper.)

A combination electronics store-spa would please both genders. With men free to stare at screens and evaluate gadgets and women free to relax without doing either, store owners would make big profits.

Some parents suggest a combination birthday palace-psychological clinic, with discount therapy coupons for moms and dads.

However, we don’t want to see some business combinations, such as a tax accountant-bond service outfit. A fast-food-bait store. An airport with its own funeral home.

Saving money on overhead is great. I’m all about cooperation and mutual support.

Sometimes, though, wouldn’t going it alone be better?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What odd business combinations have you seen?

Small-town Boy

In newspapers, we read about local kids who play basketball, march in bands and strut on stages. Two thousand years ago, another small-town boy attended school, played catch and helped Dad run the family business. His name was Jesus. He was a country kid through and through.

Jesus was born in a small town, Bethlehem. The first smells that assaulted his tiny nose were straw and manure because his pregnant mom and adoptive dad, stuck with a “No Vacancy” sign at the Bethlehem Bed and Breakfast, took refuge in a stable. Perhaps Jesus appreciated his unique birth when he forgot to close the door and Mary yelled, “Oy, were you born in a barn?” Jesus could answer, “Yes.”

His parents raised him in Nazareth, where rush hour consisted of one herd of sheep going north meeting another going south. Nazareth boasted a ma-and-pa café where people exchanged marryin’ and buryin’ news. Nobody in Nazareth kept planners or wore watches. Yet when smoky fragrances of baking bread and roasting meat filled the air, Jesus and other village kids arrived for dinner on time!

They didn’t need video monitoring. All probably were taught by the strict old rabbi who instructed their parents. A student knew if he TP-ed the rabbi’s yard or tipped Mr. Moshe’s sheep, the Nazareth Nosy Network would kick into high gear. By the time he sneaked home, 200 relatives would have regaled his parents with sinful details.

Everybody knew your name in Nazareth, a great place to live – except for a teenage girl who claimed she was pregnant by the Holy Ghost. At Mary’s news, the Nazareth Nosy Network slammed into overdrive. Miraculously, Jesus’ parents survived their neighbors’ habit of stoning people who didn’t wait until marriage.

Eventually, villagers stopped counting months on their fingers concerning Jesus’ birth. Dr. Luke says the Nazarenes came to appreciate Jesus, a boy “strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.”

When 30-year-old Jesus began sharing His wisdom with people throughout Galilee and Judea, his hometown enjoyed the “Small-town Boy Makes Good” headlines and boasted of his Nazareth roots.

When Jesus visited Nazareth, however, the Network rejected His claim He was God’s Son and stopped asking for his autograph. They nearly pushed their hometown hero off a cliff.

Escaping, Jesus continued ministering, mostly on the beach, mountainsides, in fields and other small towns. Finally, He volunteered to trade his life for the sins of the big-city bunch who killed him, for those of Nazareth’s Nosy Network (who wanted to) and for all since who need a Savior.

Many believed this country boy born in a barn was a hayseed wearing a fake halo. Really?

Or was He the Son of God?