I have mentioned in past writings that I used to live in a very small town in rural NC. I spent 5 years in that town and then 4 more years in golf resort town 20 miles east. The job I had in the rural town gave me exposure to most of the residents. If the folks didn’t know me through work then they got to know me while I was working with the Community Theatre. (As you can see my town had great class, not only did we have theater we spelled it all fancy schmancy) The point is that anytime I had friends or family visiting me, the town knew about it. Sometimes even before I knew. I am still trying to figure that out.
A couple of girlfriends who I used to work closely with decided to drive down to visit me. Our plan was for them to drive to me and then the next day we would drive to Holden Beach for a week. We had decided to go ahead and shop for groceries before we left town so that we could eliminate that task. It was only a 2 and a half-hour drive to the Beach, it seemed like a good idea. Now you have to understand that Mimi and Marcella didn’t understand the size of the town I was in. They thought I was joking about how everyone knew my comings and goings. I have to tell you, I did not have much for people to talk about.
Their first clue came when they stopped into the ABC store for the libation purchase for our trip. When they were paying for the liquor the cashier welcomed them to town and told them she had heard much about them. They figured she was simply being polite and made their way to my place. After catching up with each other we got down to the business of making the dreaded grocery list and off we went. I warned them that the second we step foot into the store at least 10 people would come up and initiate conversation. I really believe that they thought I had become conceited since moving south. I made a bet with them. If less than 10 people conversed with us in detail while we were grocery shopping then I would pick up the whole tab. If 10 or more people approached us then Mimi and Marcella would have to be very cordial and polite. Hey the 2 of them are on vacation, cordial and politeness was left 400 miles north.
Sure enough before we could get through the produce section 11 of my town folk greeted us. Most of them addressing Mimi and Marcella by their actual names. I wish I had a camera, they were flabbergasted. You see not only must you converse in the produce section but also in every other isle that you will run into the townies. If you dislike shopping (as I do) it can be excruciating. By the time we got to the feminine hygiene section Marcella decided she would really get into the let’s get acquainted game. By the time I caught up to them, I was busy socializing, I saw that Marcella had depleted the stores supply of condoms and red wine. I found her telling the bank’s Vice president that since we were going to be all liquored up at the Beach we needed to be extra careful.
Friends. They are what memories are made of and how reputations get ruined. I am not sure if I had as much fun at the Beach or after I returned. It’s a toss up.