Tag Archives: Tales of the Lonesome Pine LLC

As One Door Closes – – –

Jack’s weekly (kind of) guest post –

I have to admit that the sudden closure of the iconic ‘Mutual Pharmacy and Diner’ which features in The Little Bookstore, and in Adriana Trigiana’s Big Stone Gap series of novels, was a severe shock to everyone in our community. Wendy and I believe in places like that and so it hit us particularly hard. The fact that it was bought out by a well known national pharmacy chain (which probably needs to remain nameless, but is the only one in BSG) only makes it more poignant. Of course we are glad that said chain is re-employing some of the staff, but there’s a suspicion that it was all about removing competition.

But nothing lasts for ever, and that brings me to another point. Small towns have a USP (OK – I have an MBA so I’m allowed to mention a Unique Selling Point) and that is easily experienced, but very hard to define. It’s a mixture of architecture, culture, personality/character, position, dynamic and history (at least). Big Stone Gap has all of that in abundance, so I am optimistic about its future despite the closure of ‘The Mutual’.

Something else that the ‘Gap’ has is a growing number of people who realize that waiting for one of the existing established organizations to do ‘it’ for them is not necessarily a recipe for success. When Wendy and I travel around the country to other small towns we continually see that the thriving ones are that way because enough people just got together and did something. Sometimes that is centered on a business, but just as often it will be a farmers’ market, or a community yard sale.

Today I was doing my normal quick trawl through FaceBook and saw a post announcing that Bob’s Market and Family Drug was having a re-opening event. This is another long established local business. Bob has retired and everyone thought that was another one gone. But, no! New owners have taken over and are rarin’ to go – that’s great!

So, what’s the message?

All communities change and develop – sometimes much loved landmarks go; but sometimes enthusiasts like the new owners of Bob’s Market and Family Drug arrive on the scene. Their timing, in this case, was spot on! So to David Adkins, Kara Goins Adkins and Rick Mullins, I can only give the traditional Scottish well-wish: Lang may yir lum reek!

 

For more on the background to this post check out our friend Amy Clark’s op-ed piece in a recent edition of the NY Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/opinion/appalachian-hope-and-heartbreak.html?

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, Life reflections, small town USA, VA

Who, Us?

     Tuesday past at Needlework Night was the annual post-holiday Leftovers Party. We hold two of these each year, one the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the other the Tuesday after New Year.  Each needleworker brings some leftover food—the rules are very specific: no cooking; no prettying up; just haul out the plate with the cling film cover and bring it along—and drink.
     After New Year, each attendee also brings a leftover present for the Rude Santa gift exchange (the one where you can steal each other’s presents).
     So no one, least of all Jack (who had to fly solo that night because I was out of town) thought anything about the brown paper-wrapped package sitting on the end table alongside one of the shelves. The Needleworkers pulled leftover Christmas crackers, ate cheese ball and fruitcake, and traded stories of in-law hells, house guests from hell, and drunken office party hellraisers as they swapped crockery, sweaters, cookie tins and other “I don’t want this” presents accumulated during the 2012 holiday run.
     But as the party ended and everyone began putting on coats, pulling off their paper crowns, and tucking their new gifts for old into their needlework baskets, the package still sat there. Jack picked it up. It definitely contained books.
     “Anybody forget this?” he asked. All demurred. Jack shrugged and tore open the paper.
     You guessed it: Fifty Shades of Grey, the trilogy.
     “All right, ‘fess up. Who left these?” Jack said with a laugh, waving them above his head amid the women who form Big Stone Gap’s library board, hospital auxiliary, and church vestry committees for every conceivable denomination.
     They all looked shocked. As if, said their lightly mascaraed eyes beneath the sensible pageboy haircut variations.
     So, we have another set of Those Books in the bookstore—or had. Someone bought them Friday afternoon, half off retail since they were used. There were some yarn strands left as bookmarks in a couple of passages, but in a small town, it doesn’t do to pay close attention to who’s working with which fibers. Live and let knit.

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized