- Full size grocery store or farmer’s market
- Dunkin’ Donuts/Starbucks/Seattle's Best (Not even a Tim Hortons, and they serve possibly the worst coffee I’ve ever experienced. They may not appear militant, but I swear Canada is killing us one disgusting cup at a time.)
- Car Wash
- Fast food (unless you’re actually referring to live speed)
- Goat Cheese – This is one of my absolute favorite food items, thus making it’s loss one of the greatest tragedies of being so remote. I will gleefully spread it on almost any food or even eat it with a spoon. It’s an hour’s drive to the closest grocer that carries it, and I will create ridiculous excuses to take that trip.
- Bowling Alley
After it simmers on the burner all weekend long.
Along with losing our money to slices of marinated eel and steaming cups of Sumatran Roast, we also used to have access to the above list of amenities, and we all know how quickly fifty bucks can fly out of your hand at Target or Trader Joes. Dollar bills are like lemmings, and when the water’s nice, they dribble out of your palm and off that cliff, one right after the other. Up here where the lake's frozen over and there’s hardly a retailer in sight, they pull up their skirts, slowly waddle to the edge, then shriek in horror at the sight of that much ice and climb back up into your sleeve. So we’ve got some extra lemmings - I mean dollars - rolling around these days.
Which means we can pay for your gas so you can finally come visit.
You know who you are.
Despite not having any of these things within 50 miles or so, there is one thing I’m learning that we have in plenty: great people. I’ve been amazed lately at how much I’ve enjoyed getting to know the neighbors that live alongside us up here. I don’t know what on earth brought them this far north, and I’ve wondered out loud what’s kept them here, but I don’t care anymore. In fact, I don’t want them to leave. People here live differently than most of the country, and while that was always obvious, I originally thought the difference had solely to do with dentistry, rusting trucks, and farm animals. I understand now that these people simply chose something different out of life. And I’m starting to buy into it.
Don’t think that I’ll quit having an emotional breakdown when I think about a good Thai dish or “running out to get a prescription”, but perhaps my episodes will occur less frequently. If you want to try and get a whiff of the mountain air and escape the madness for a little while, come stay with us. We’ll all be essentially sleeping in the same room, but we’ve got two bunk beds and a pull out sofa with your names written all over them (really). And whether it’s a five or forty-hour drive to get here, once you stop seeing commercial life and start seeing signs in French, you’ll know you’re close. So come on by. We’ll have the fire going and the lemmings leashed.
We’re ready for you.