This morning, I took a ride into town with my daughter to pick up a couple of things at the local grocery store. We’re fortunate: We live in a veritable oasis. Tucked into the Texas Hill Country, we live in a mostly natural water park. Our corner of the state is known for our lake (courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers) and one of the best “toobing” rivers in Texas, courtesy of Mother Nature and the Edwards Aquifer.
Every summer, our little town explodes into frenetic, bikini-clad, biceps-bulging (beerbelly-bouncing) activity. Traffic backs up, the gas pumps are clogged with trucks hauling boats, everybody’s filling their tubes up at the air pumps, the ice houses are doing brisk business, the barbecue stands are smoking away, Daisy Dukes, and Cluck-in-a-Bucket, Ninfa’s Tacos and Little Mexico have lines of hungry tourists just waiting to grab some grub as they come back in from or head back out to the “horseshoe,” that lazy loop of river that swings up past one bridge in town and down through the other, making it a convenient spot to put in and take out.
Some days – HOT days – and today in particular, given that is was a cloudless 92 degrees and the start of Memorial Day Weekend – there are so many tubes floating down the river that you can literally get from one side of the river to the other by stepping on people’s tubes! And it doesn’t end there. Oh no! There are tubes for coolers and tubes for dogs, too. Yes, we specialize out here at the lake!
So, back to the trip to the store. My daughter and I were happy to see that the river was busy. We know that the local folks in town depend on summer traffic to get them through the winter when our tourists leave. We hooked a right in town and headed out to the grocery store where, a few days before I noticed a couple of high school kids were busy sweeping sections of the parking lot and painting brand new, bright yellow stripes. I hadn’t paid much attention, except that I didn’t drive too close, as I didn’t want yellow paint on my black car. But today, I remembered the new paint job.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen our little store’s parking lot so full. I had to hunt for a parking spot in a store at which I never have to worry about where I park; I could park across 3 spots if I wanted to on any given day. But not today.
As we got out of the car and joined the crowd of people walking into the store, I noticed a number of things. First, there was a definite “uniform” going on. It was the uniform of summer at the lake, summer at the river: sun dress, bathing suit coverup, flip flops, straw cowboy hat, long shorts for the men and maybe (mayyyybe) some sort of T-shirt. Age doesn’t matter. Perfume? Whatever sun block you use.
The next thing I noticed was the conversation. Women were asking each other as they were passing through the doors if they saw extra shopping carts in the parking lot! WHAT? Our little grocery store was out of shopping carts. In twelve years I’ve never seen this happen. And being out of shopping carts seemed to make everyone else happier to shop there! There was a buzz of excitement, a thrum of activity, it was better than a sale at Filene’s Basement back in the good old days in Boston!
And then there were the merchandise conversations: “Oh, look! They have everything in here! They even have bathing suits!” Another woman was excited about the coverups. A third was thrilled about the produce. A man at the end of the produce isle was excited about the variety of microbrews in our little store (wait ’til he got a load of the wine selection!) And on and on it went.
I was amazed.
It got me thinking, as I chose the couple of tomatoes and cucumbers that I came in for: All of these people were having a blast in my little town. They were loving our crystal clear river, having a blast in our lake, enjoying our camp grounds, listening to the wide variety of live music that graces our area, chowing down on the awesome Hill Country grub, and soaking up that “Texas Friendly” that we all love so much. They were impressed with the little store that I always took for granted, that I actually complained about on a fairly regular basis for a whole host of reasons, and they were excited and grateful to be spending a holiday weekend in the town that I am blessed to spend every day in, year in, year out.
What else, I wonder, am I taking for granted? What else do I look at every single day, that I’ve become so jaded to, that it’s lost it’s magic? I’m sure there’s a whole new world out there for me to discover, all around me. It’s my amazing life, starring wonderful me! And there’s my amazing husband and my incredible children, and my delightful friends and family! I’m surrounded by phenomenal business associates and jaw-dropping opportunity. And truly, my life is fulfilling beyond my wildest dreams! I just needed to wake up to it, to the vision of it, to the beauty of it, again.
I needed to see it again for the first time. Today. And I’ll need to see it again for the first time tomorrow, too.
How about you? Take a look around and let me know what you see.