Slice of Life: Happiness is Found in Unexpected Places 4 of 31

Here we go!  It's time for the March Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.  This year I've decided to try to focus my writing around happiness.  Stop by today's link up to join the conversation or find some great reading.   

When I heard an empty building in our small town was going to be the new home for Family Dollar, I wasn't happy.  Chain stores don't belong in a small town, at least not in my small town.  It is enough that we have a McDonalds.  It took me awhile to get used to the hamburger chain occupying a huge piece of land near the creek that borders our town.  It took me awhile to get used to the bright lights that made the stars disappear from the night sky.

There was no way a Family Dollar belonged in our town.  Of course, it didn't help that it was replacing our local grocery store which had closed.  It wasn't the same without a grocery store.  Since the store closed I had to be a planner; I had to think ahead about what I was going to fix each night for dinner.  If we needed anything, we had to drive into the city to get groceries.  Our small town grocery store wasn't just a matter of convenience, it was where you saw everyone you knew.  It was the place I worked as a high school student.  I wanted a grocery store, but I didn't want a chain taking over our town.  Family Dollar wasn't a grocery store.

Family Dollar arrived despite my protests.  For years I boycotted the establishment.  My personal mission didn't seem to keep Family Dollar from staying in business, but I still stayed a way.  Years passed and I never walked into the store.  Never.  If it came up in conversation, I didn't hesitate to talk about the problems with an uncaring chain in our small community.

Then one day, I ran out of contact solution.  I had to have contact solution or I would lose my contacts which I had just opened.  It was late.  I was tired.  What was I to do?  Family Dollar won't have this I whined, but I begrudgingly decided to try anyway.  I walked into the store.  Paced the aisles, but I couldn't find my contact solution.  I didn't need just any contact solution, I needed a particular brand of contact solution.  Finally, I asked a clerk.  Surely they wouldn't have it, but it turned out I was wrong.  They had it.  I couldn't believe it.  I had to admit, I was quite grateful to not have to drive all the way into the city to get contact solution.  That didn't make me a fan.  It took a few more emergencies before I finally decided I had to be more willing to accept the arrival of this chain.

Tonight it happened again.  As I headed home after a long day of school, my mind began to decompress the day and move toward home.  Of course, it wasn't long until I was thinking through my dinner plan when I remembered I forgot to get the pasta I needed.  Almost home, I didn't want to turn around and go back to the city.  Would Family Dollar have pasta?  Would I stop at the chain again?

They won't have pasta I told myself as I stopped.   I walked the aisles, but I couldn't find the pasta.  I found the rice.  I found the Kraft Macaroni and cheese, but no pasta.  Then I turned around, and there was pasta.  Not just any pasta, but penne pasta --- exactly what I wanted for dinner.  I'm a small town girl, but I guess I'm going to learn to live with this chain that does make my life easier sometimes.  Who knew happiness could be found in a chain store in my small town?


  1. Isn't it funny that the store had exactly what you needed? I enjoyed reading your post! I hope you enjoyed your pasta, too!

  2. I like the way you described how much you didn't want the chain to move in, and then how you stayed away for so long. I could really feel your emotions strongly, and I could understand your frustration at having to finally go there! Glad they had what you needed, at least!

  3. I'm connecting with this post tonight. I'm tell people I'm a small town girl trapped in the suburbs. I've watched the sprawl happen over the 15 years I've been here. I boycotted all of it for awhile, until we had kids and have slowly ventured "out west." I can't say I love it, but it's here to stay, and I'm thankful we can get what we need for the kids easily. I'm glad the chain store was helpful and had what you needed!

  4. Convenience vs. conscience. I hate seeing the mom and pop stores close for a Gap, for example. We don't have a dollar store in our town...yet!

  5. Convenience vs. conscience. I hate seeing the mom and pop stores close for a Gap, for example. We don't have a dollar store in our town...yet!

  6. Interesting.... I always look at it as them paying taxes to help our schools. That helps with having them in town. And next time, just go next door and ask for some uncooked pasta - I'll bet they would share some with you. Tell them you know the owner... : )


  7. I've often said I was meant to live in a small town. So cozy. Growing up in the country was close!

    I enjoyed reading about your love for a small town, your determination and the happiness you found in unexpected places.

  8. I'm laughing as I read this, but also feeling your pain.. You know how much I fight change, but sometimes you just have to realize you can't change the change.. I will always be a small town girl and be very proud of it!! It still amazes me that you have become a "techy", but still remained a country girl, lol...

  9. Oh, I feel your pain! I know that grocery store you reference and I miss it so! Sunday donuts on the way home from church, last minute in the way to school supplies, and of course emergency dinner needs! But yes, FD has saved me a few times too. Ah well... great post! Love your habit of looking for happiness!


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