With the pandemic news dominating most of our thoughts these days it is very easy to fall into a dark place. Although I have been told, that in my mind I create and live in “honeysuckle covered cottages” (not intended as a compliment) I want to offer some hope to my readers.
I have always been optimistic, however that optimism is developed through design and a thought process that considers all options and possibilities to best manage any situation. I think back to growing up surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland in the Central Valley of California. Observing all these men who dressed similarly in blue jeans, short-sleeved button front shirts, field boots and hat – either a baseball cap or straw cowboy hat. They were hard-working, modest and perhaps a little rough around the edges. They were all called Farmers. Their focus was family and fields.
One universal trait of all farmers is hopefulness. If you are a farmer on any scale you need hope. It is as much a requirement as seed or sunshine. Just imagine your entire livelihood of your family depends on so many variables, weather, market pricing and supply and demand. You face all these obstacles to feed your family as well as growing crops to feed thousands of other families. These farmers also depended on small town merchants and banks to supply them with what they needed. I fondly recall our local hardware, grocery store, pharmacy, bank and bar that comprised our little town’s main street. I think our mother would purposely send us kids with our dad when he journeyed into town. This was her attempt to keep him out of the local bar for a “cold one”. It was not uncommon to see us kids sitting patiently in dad’s pick-up truck with the windows down, parked in the afternoon out front of the town bar. He quickly discovered that our cooperation could easily be bought if he sent out ice cold cokes and candy bars. It is this small-town symbiotic relationship I miss the most. Everyone in this small town was dependent on each other to be successful. When you pair hope with a sense of teamwork from a community it can make the difference between success and failure.
So, when I see news about local groups taking care of senior citizens and others in high risk groups or teachers and school staff making sure children receive a nutritious meal, it immediately takes me back to my small-town memories. Even if you live in larger cities as New York or San Francisco you can relate because I find those huge metropolitans are really made up of clusters of small communities all massed together. I rejoice growing up with small town values has not been forgotten and may be the best medicine to fight this virus. I remember my Kindergarten teacher instructing us how to properly wash our hands and to not be a “pushy-pig” when standing in line. I always loved to take her something, because she would send me home with a beautiful thank you note. I thought she and her handwriting were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I recall the ladies at the hardware store that could help me find anything from 8 penny nails to a china sugar and creamer set as a gift for my mother. They would wrap them up and then present them to me over the counter with a kind remark or sassy retort. The fun was not knowing which response you would get that day! I remember the local grocery store well since we were a family of seven! Betty the checker always seemed to know which item was my baby brothers and she wouldn’t give it him until he gave her a little peck on the cheek. He always did. I just thought she had magical powers. Every community has people like this who are present in our everyday lives. It is especially wonderful when I see them step up to help their communities in extraordinary circumstances as this. Perhaps these people really are magical.
It is in this spirit the Park Hill Collection will be offering our vendors, in all those local communities’ access to a retail website they can send out to their customers to shop while sheltering at home and to perhaps dream of better days ahead. This will allow local shops to offer the entire Park Hill Collection line to their customers they serve and to move forward during these challenging times. In a few days our vendors will be receiving this program and I hope everyone that can, finds a way to help their local shops maintain business.
I have come to realized I never really left that small town because we are all still dependent on each other. I find hope in knowing this and believe this will once again become the direction of our future lives.