Happenings about townYesterday morning I engaged in my first "out and about" here in White Pine. One of the great things about this town is that in my situation, I normally have to rely on public transportation to get around, but there is no need of that here on a day to day basis. The town is small enough that I can make it from one end of town to the other in the space of a few minutes in my power wheelchair, and there is very little that isn't readily accessible to me. The only place in town that it isn't safe for me to go is the Food City and the Subway shop next to it, and that is only because I have deemed that it is not especially safe to cross the highway. The reality is that if I really needed to get over there, I probably could.
Every morning, a bunch of the men of the town meet for coffee at the old Sanitary Drug Store on Main Street. There is still a lunch counter at the old pharmacy, complete with the barstools still in place. There is even a brass NCR cash register with the old lever on it. As the official new man in town, it was recommended to me that I drop in on one of these morning caravans that apparently begin at 7:00am at Allen Surrett's Hardware Store and wind their way over to the coffee pot at the Sanitary. I skipped Surrett's yesterday and went straight for the lunch counter instead.
I resolved that I would begin by simply being quiet and observing others, and listening to them. Hospitality was extended immediately upon my entering, as one person immediately asked if I wanted coffee and poured me some, dropping change in the cash register before I even had a chance to dig for the dollar in my pocket. I was able to leave my chair parked right outside the door of the drug store. Every now and again, someone would peak over at my chair to see that it was unmolested, but of course no one touched it.
As it turned out, sitting and listening was the best policy for today, as I quickly learned that two of the fellas at coffee had been to Saudi Arabia, not as soldiers, but as contractors, and told stories of life in Jeddah at the American compounds there. As it turned out, neither knew that the other was in Saudi (Jeddah), but they lived only a few miles apart while there. Everyone was in unanimous agreement that all Washington officialdom were "out of touch" with people in White Pine, and all complained that they felt unrepresented. Further, some concluded that this would be the case no matter who was sent to Washington.
At that point in the discussion, I turned to the center of my table where someone had left a campaign card for Vance Cheek Jr. for Congress. I don't know who was in the drug store or left the card, but it is the first Vance Cheek campaign material I have seen in White Pine proper.
After some further discussion, this time about the fact that something new is said to cause cancer every week, Friday coffee adjourned until Monday and all of us got on with our daily business.
Perhaps Monday I will feel a bit more free to speak.