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Street Talk

Last Sunday afternoon while in my backyard working on a project (of which there are many pointless ones), I needed one small item to finish. But this item was something that I can’t buy in Water Valley on a Sunday.  I can buy it readily on a Sunday in Oxford or Batesville,  but that’s not buying local.  I didn’t want to drive 40 or more miles, sit an hour or so in the truck, even though it would be a nice Sunday afternoon drive. 

It was a real dilemma considering the time and money (an hour and at least six dollars in fuel) for the trip versus the real desire to finish the project now. Should I just have a cold beer and forget the internal stress (the local beer was not purchased on a Sunday FYI) and enjoy the shade on the porch?

 Then I remembered the words of wisdom about finding stuff in small towns I heard decades ago, “It’s either dead easy or impossible.” Meaning If you’re willing to live within the parameters of a location, you’ll be fine. If you want that something out of the normal range, you’ll be often frustrated.

Then it hit me, maybe Fred’s has it. And sure enough they did. No Oxford run. Hallelujah.

 Fred’s is not a big box store, it is kind of a medium box store, but they are in 15 states. Big as Fred’s is, they have a semi-local connection. Fred’s originally started in Coldwater in 1947, three brothers, sons of Lebanese immigrants, started the store. One was named Fred. My guess if it failed, the other two brothers could claim, hey, that wasn’t me!   Fred’s is still based nearby, the HQ is in Memphis. Fred’s is open on a Sunday, as their business model is serving daily needs of people in small towns, most locations are in towns under 15,000 in population.

 Now I’m not saying Fred’s is the answer to everything. But they did save me from driving to Oxford or Batesville, which I do occasionally, but don’t especially like.

 Leaving Fred’s last Sunday afternoon, when turning onto Main Street from Church Street and heading south was there was not a single person or car on the street which made the town look eerily deserted.  People are living downtown now.  The merchants on Main Street, nearly all who live here and operate their own businesses, were hopefully taking a well-earned day off. And that’s the difference or trade-off the Valley has versus Oxford and larger places. Sure, you can shop on Sunday, the mainly chain stores are from out of state and your money essentially leaves the community.

This Friday night at 7 p.m. at Bozarts Gallery singer and guitarist Lynn Drury is performing. She’s a talented musician from Yazoo City, but has been living in New Orleans for many years. She’s up in the hills escaping the fetid funk of the Crescent City in summer, if only for a few days.  I think she is the personification of a creative fusion between Mississippi and Louisiana. Just a random plug, my favorite guitarist Sonny Landreth has the same combination. She’s got a sound you’ll love.

The Farmer’s Market is going this Saturday, fresh tomatoes are in and going fast. Last week Jean and Claud Hayles had their orange insides watermelons. Locally grown and ever so sweet.

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