Where they know you by name

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2003

L ast week I mentioned Benny and I were planning to go out of town for a few days.

I have to say The Magic City' almost overwhelmed me.

Maybe it was the fact I hadn't spent the night anywhere other than my mom's house (which is a whole 200 yards from my door) in such a long while. Or maybe it was due to the fact I was pretty much exhausted before I even left our driveway.

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(I'm guessing the stomach ailments Benny and I both endured off and on over those four days didn't help any, either.)

Oh, it was nice to get away to the bright lights of the big city, to the large array of shops, restaurants, movies and more…but it sure was swell to get back home, too.

I like the fact people know me by name in the shops and businesses here. I think it's pretty neat I can stop by the spot my husband affectionately calls "the used bread store" – and not waste my money.

Why not? Because this is what I hear when I walk in the door: "Oh, Angie – your husband was just in earlier and already bought that sandwich bread y'all needed…not your usual, because we're out of that right now." Would that happen in the big city? Probably not.

When I go into the Pineapple for my Burt's Bees lip balm, Miss Mary directs me away from my first choice to a different formula "because the lid sticks so bad on those pots sometimes. I think you will like this stick much better, Angie."

Not only do I get sound product advice, I also get the pleasure of hearing the delicious creak of the Pineapple's hardwood floor (Miss Mary likes it, too), and receiving a handwritten bill of sale (how many of those do you see anymore?)

I like the way people nod and wave to one another as they stroll down the sidewalks and drive down the streets of my little town. I appreciate how so many folks ask about my widowed mom and send her their best (she's doing quite well, I might add – pretty and feisty as ever).

A few years ago, Benny and I received a thank you note from our niece Heather, who lived in Mobile at the time. Apparently she was going to double-check on our address, then forgot and stuck the note in the mail.

When it arrived at our house, this is what was written on the front: Angie and Benny, Honoraville, Alabama. No last name, no box or street, no zip code. Yet it came straight to our big ol' rural box.

Bet you don't get service like that in the big city!