Posted by: deadmousediaries | June 23, 2013

Absolutely Free Season is Here Again! – an ah-ha! moment from Mitchell Kyd

Forgive my superior attitude but it is all but the darkest six weeks of winter that confirm for me that small town America is the only place to live. I am reminded of that the moment the first delicate little Snowdrop pokes through winter’s crumble, sending out the annual memo that another Absolutely Free season is about to unfold. If you look out your window, pick up a hometown newspaper or drive down any road around here, you know exactly what I mean.

Of course, there are always absolutely free kittens and the occasional free recliner to be scooped up but that is only the start. It is impossible to ignore the abundance of things that are free for the taking here: the smell of honeysuckle, the shade of beautiful hardwood trees, the best seats in the world for unwinding in our free local parks.

In another few weeks, raspberry bushes that have volunteered to freely overrun any unclaimed spaces will be filled with plump, purple berries along road banks and fence rows. Home gardens will overflow with tomatoes, squash and zucchini to the point that no visit to a neighbor concludes without an obligatory armful of fresh produce.

Even now, local gardenscape artists have set up their canvases, free for us all to view in the pleasures of the passing moment. As we drive by, baskets of purple petunias wave from a balcony railing and tubs of scarlet impatiens shout “Quick! Look! I’m beautiful!” as they punctuate porch steps and the gray stretches of sidewalks.

Libraries, churches and historical buildings fling open their doors and invite us in for enticing programs, entertainment and lectures because the community collective has made funding possible for our personal free admission. Local businesses and banks offer free seminars and demonstrations and fund visits from other experts to help us with the specific issues that concern us here. Even a Saturday spent at a public auction is a free seat for a local history lesson. It is our hometown version of
American Pickers and Antiques Roadshow rolled into one, brought to us live by auctioneers who have perfected their sales pitch even on items they can’t identify.

We wind our way to all these events uplifted by flag-lined streets, thanks to our service clubs and veterans organizations. Often we can simply walk the few blocks that take us to a glorious, free performance like this week’s local appearance of the US Army Jazz Ambassadors. At most, we may burn up a single gallon of gasoline for the entire round trip to enjoy all the free music and festivals that surround us.

We grill local meats and fresh corn from farmers’ markets and convene impromptu neighborhood parties on our porches. When the darkening sky becomes a backdrop for a spectacular fireworks show, we may never have to leave our porches to take it all in. We sit there happy and contented late into the night, free from fear that strangers will harm us. All these gifts and more are brought to us by the good works of local business owners and leaders who also help power our service clubs, fire companies, veterans’ organizations and our local governments.

In small town America, we also get a free pass to talk with our elected officials; they don’t lie in hiding here. The chances are good we will bump into them at the local pharmacy or grocery store, in line at the hardware counter or coaching on the community baseball fields. We’re as likely to find many of them working side by side with our friends and neighbors in a Lion’s Club  french fry stand or bagging trash at a scout troop’s roadside clean-up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Life is amazingly good where we live, especially now that Absolutely Free season is here again. You need only be open to noticing all the good things that come our way simply for being part of small town America. But beware of the offer of that free recliner; it might just be the one where those kittens were born!


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