The Incredible Shrinking Main Street

The Incredible Shrinking Main Street
It takes an hour to get to the post office from my house. And it’s only two blocks away. That’s because if you live in Upper Lake, California — population 900 — you’re going to run into a lot of people you know while you walk those two blocks. And you have to stop and say hello to each of them. Sometimes it was Lynn and Bernie, who own the boutique hotel next door to our house. They bought that abandoned, dilapidated historic property and took it on like an oversized art project. When my daughter Lauren was only 3, she’d toddle over to the garden at the back of Lynn and Bernie’s hotel and stuff her pockets with their cherry tomatoes. Then, smelling of basil and mint and other herbs she’d pilfered, she’d thunder her Big Wheel over wood plank sidewalks to make her getaway back to our house. Other days, our walk to the post office took us by Richard and Joe, two regulars who sit on the park bench in front of our town’s antique shop. They often enjoy a “soda” concealed in brown paper bags. At other times, we'd run into Susan who owns the local wine tasting room, or Lisa — a young beauty who does everything from dog sitting to paralegal work. Usually, the thundering Big Wheel with its pint-sized pilot was leading the way. Gary and I moved to our tiny town from the big city when we found out I was pregnant. At that time, we wanted our world to be smaller, to constric
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