A Few Thoughts Apropos of Not Much
Postal outcry: One of my first impressions of Southern Pines after relocating here three years ago was the post office.
The building is well-located and historic - a pleasant place. People come and go in a steady stream. Many know each other. That seemed unusual, since I hardly ever go. Stamps are -available at supermarkets; the UPS store accepts Parcel Post packages. Money orders have been replaced by a dozen options.
In Canada, where I lived previously, -substations were -conveniently located in drugstores. Visits to the post office were for government business or major transactions.
So I understand the outcry over -closing the equally adorable Pinehurst village post office. The people it serves remember the post office as a place to see friends and exchange news. Ideally, it should be across from a diner or a park, with benches.
Numerous books (most recently "The Postmistress," by Sarah Blake) have cast postal employees as -information sources a la local -bartender. Bet I'm not the only -oldtimer who remembers a particular mail carrier, somebody you offered a glass of lemonade on a hot afternoon.
What I don't understand is why the U.S. Postal Service operates at such an astounding deficit. Maybe it's because they try to mimic businesses with catchy TV ads, merchandise displays in their "stores" and stuff. Thus, by keeping up with the times, they have timed out. Sad.
Worth missing sleep over? I read with fascination and horror of the man who camped out overnight at the new Cracker Barrel so he would be its first customer.
Then I remembered camping out at a Broadway theater with other crazy -college students to get SRO tickets for "My Fair Lady." We had fun. I saw Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. That same summer, I waded in the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel until invited out by a policeman.
But Cracker Barrel is just Cracker Barrel. Or maybe not. Am I missing something?
Hot-weather flashback: If nothing unifies a nation more than a war, then nothing unifies a community more than the weather. Same response for ice storms or heat waves.
At last, people have something to say after hello, like "Whaddaya think of this heat?" and after goodbye, like "Stay cool." Notably, they sound surprised - as if triple-digit July temps weren't expected.
The heat gives me a chilling flashback to when residential AC was just a gleam in some HVAC engineer's eye. My parents lived in a stone house, which they thought was "cooler" but which I now know was a solar collector. They thought window units made too much noise, not to mention the electricity. My room was under the attic eaves.
Enough said. Part of the reason we feel the heat nowadays is because the contrast between indoors and outdoors is so profound. Seems weird to have cabin fever in July, but incarceration is better than immolation, I guess.
Last licks: The price of ice cream is mysteriously mercurial (wait for twofers), while flavors are off the wall.
Who wants chili-tinged gelato or ice cream with the birthday cake already crumbled in it? Moose Tracks sounds ominously like moose droppings.
A delightful search identified three superior summer cool-offs: Ciao Bella raspberry sorbet with the color and tart flavor of real raspberries; Harris Teeter slow-churned coffee ice cream with half the fat; and velvet-smooth, wantonly rich Dove bars with chocolate ice cream and thick dark chocolate coating.
Warning: Do not attempt the above while standing or sitting outside, while driving a car or while wearing anything white. Find a quiet, cool cave and lick away.
Contact Deborah Salomon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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