The opposite side of this city, on the other side of that big, gold-dome capitol that I showed you earlier this morning, things look much like they did thirty years ago. Small changes happen, mostly in the form of individual neighborhoods updating their faces but up and down the main drags and the side streets it's blue-collar just about everywhere you see. The State Fairgrounds are on this side of town. And if they were honest, lots and lots of people that live West of here wouldn't think of driving this far East. Not for any reason.
This is my side of town. I raised my family in a "bedroom community" not far from here. It feels like home. The people feel more like family to me.
I crossed paths with two of them this morning:
I'm in line at Walgreens.
Shampoo. Laundry soap. Cat food.
All the items have been scanned and tucked into bags.
I'm swiping my ATM card when the clerk reaches over and touches my hand lightly to get my attention.
"Did you happen to notice the free samples over there on that table?"
She points to a display halfway down a nearby aisle.
"Oh. No...I don't think I noticed those." I smiled, waiting for my receipt.
"You might want to walk down there and take a few," she said. "They're free. I think you might want to try some. They're wrinkle cream. They say it really works." She touches my hand again briefly. "Especially around the eyes....."
Ok, so I smiled and thanked her, walked down and grabbed a bunch of them.
And yes, I spent the next hour sneaking peaks into the rear view mirror, trying to get a good look at just how bad the wrinkles are getting.
Seriously??? SERIOUSLY???!!!!!! Maybe it was the way the light was shining in the windows of Walgreen's.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A few minutes later I'm driving down a main street on my side of town. Sun roof open. Window rolled down. Coming to a stop at a red light, I'm listening to Lenny Kravitz and enjoying the way the sun was heating up the top of my head when I hear someone yell.
I ignore it. Probably kids yelling at eachother.
"HEY. HEY LADY!!"
I look over to my left. There is an old clunker of a car and a big guy in a black t-shirt and a NASCAR ball cap sitting behind the wheel, looking my way through his open window.
Is he talking to me???
"Hey Lady. Do you know where there are any junk yards on this side of town?"
Cross traffic light turns yellow. Yeahhh, as a matter of fact I do......I thought to myself, laughing.
"Turn around, go back to the Fairgrounds and drive South. You can't miss 'em."
The light turned. He smiled and waved thanks. We both went on our merry Saturday morning way.
Great stuff like that just doesn't happen to me on the other side of town.
And that's why I love it over here.
These are my people.