A slightly chilly, windy day in town today, but not enough that the Walking With Friends group was not able to do a 5k circuit around town before coffee at “Vibez” on the Esplanade.
Vibez is a great place to stop in for coffee (or something more) Service is friendly and you are always greeted with a smiling welcome as you come in the door. Coffee is excellent, served promptly and hot. Atmosphere is pleasant with just the right amount of ambient noise so that you don’t feel you are sharing your conversation with the entire establishment, but not so noisy that you have trouble hearing your friends speaking on the other side of the table. You get a cute little biscuit bear to enjoy with your coffee, and the pot of tea one of the ladies ordered, arrived with a hand made tea cosy! It’s those little things that make for a great experience. Staff are friendly, premises is impeccably clean, and we love going there. So a big “thank you” to the girls at Vibez!
Shared a coffee, chat and lots of laughs with the lovely ladies of the Walking Group, before heading around to the Supermarket for the weekly grocery shop. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the nice thing about shopping in Lakes Entrance is the friendly and helpful people you meet along the way. A quick chat at the checkout, involving not only the girl on the cash register, but a whole line of people waiting as well, no one fussing about having to wait in line, everyone chatting and sharing a laugh. So nice!
Get all my groceries into the car (eventually, after doing battle with the slightly quirky alarm system on the Ranger) and finally think I can head for home. But no, I have forgotten that I need some things at the Chemist. Lock the car again, wondering if my “frozens’” with still be frozens when I get home, I head back in to the Chemist. Choosing the one in the arcade near the Supermarket as being the closest and most convenient, I go in. I am greeted by a staff member, with a smile and a “Can I help you?” I resist the temptation to say “ Only if you’re a psychiatrist” and tell her what I am there for. She is sweet and friendly and inquires if there will be anything else and assures me the wait will not be long. She did not lie, I did not even have time to wander the aisles before she was saying my things were ready and thanking me for shopping with them. I proceed to the pay counter, there is a hold up apparently, but I don’t mind it means I have a chance to stand still and simply wait and relax, however, the staff member who is busy takes the time to alert another staff member that I am waiting, and she comes to serve me immediately, again with a smile and light conversation. I think what a great town we live in – MOST people are friendly and pleasant, and we are blessed to live in this amazing part of the world.
I leave the Chemist and start back to my car, but wait – I wanted to get some Candles from the Reject Shop. I turn in that direction and approach the pedestrian crossing. I see there is a car approaching, so I step back to allow them to go through, but the young man behind the wheel has already spotted me and signals me to go across. I trot across the crossing, with a wave to say “ thanks” and he calls out “No worries mate” I think what a great town we live in.
I go to the Reject Shop, the young man who is stacking shelves turns with a smile and says G`day, moving his things out of the way so I can pass. I thank him and he says “ no worries” I find the things I am looking for and the same young man serves me at the Register “ Have you had a nice day” he inquires as he’s processing my articles , “ Busy” I reply, thinking how nice it is that the young ones take a moment to speak to their older customers. I thank him as he hands me my bag of purchases, and he tells me to enjoy the rest of my day. I leave thinking yet again, what a great town we live in.
I head back to my car through the arcade. There are about a dozen young ones on scooters in the alley way, just milling around talking and laughing together. One of them does not see me and almost hits me with his scooter, one of his mates admonishes him to “ watch out for the lady” I say “ No problems, but thanks” to him and he grins, a happy open blue eyed grin. Again I think, I love living here.
I arrive at my car, again do battle with my quirky alarm system, and get into the car. I’m watching two young high school students approaching. One of them looks up at me with a frown, and I think what a shame she’s looking so cross, she’s such a pretty girl. She looks away, but then looks back at me and nods and smiles to acknowledge that I waited for them to pass in front before moving my car. I think how nice it was that she smiled and bothered to thank me silently for waiting for them. It takes but a moment to acknowledge another human being, to even silently with nothing more than a smile, thank someone for a small gesture, and I thought how lovely it was that she did that. Obviously her parents have raised her well.
As I move away from my parking spot, I’m thinking about how a simple gesture, a smile, a wave, catching someone’s eye and nodding even, can make such a big difference to someone’s day. We never know what another person may be going through, what pain they may be feeling, perhaps the loss of someone dear to them, the problems of a wayward child, perhaps (God forbid) the death of a child, and yet that simple human contact, can be powerful, healing and wonderful.
It is a special thing about this town, that mostly people are not rushed, not dashing from one place to another, only to dash to another place. We are living our lives at a slower, more relaxed pace and we have the time to really SEE each other, to acknowledge each other, and to hopefully, by a simple gesture of kindness, make a difference to someone’s day.
That all being said, I know there is a darker side to the town too, as there is in any town or community. Where there is goodness, pleasantness and hope, there is also badness, unpleasantness and pain. I know there is a drug problem here, just like in other small country towns. There will always be vultures who prey on the vulnerable and the weak for profit. There will always be those who want to tear down what others have built, that’s just the way of the world. I am not such a dreamer that I don’t see the bad with the good, but I try to see the good, even in the bad. I try to see hope rather than hopelessness. Maybe I’m naïve, but I believe there is some spark of good in most people ( I am also worldly wise enough to know that some people are just evil and should not be allowed to be part of our society) but as a general rule, I think there is good in most people, a wish to be liked and loved and accepted.
As I drive out of town, leisurely at the wonderful 40ks an hour that is the limit all through town, I am amazed that most people seem to have already left the town and gone home. I look at my watch and discover it’s 4:30. The school Mum’s have picked up their offspring from the local schools, the older children have left their schools and are either with friends or have gone home. There are a few cars at the pool, and I think what a nice way to end the day, with a swim in the warm waters of the pool. There is very little traffic as I leave the town speed restriction behind and travel at a heady 60ks an hour up the hill. Glancing in my rear vision mirror I see a car coming up out of the town, obviously doing far more than the 60ik an hour allowance, he roars up behind me, almost crossing the white line, impatiently waiting until he can pass me, although I’m doing the limit already. As soon as the road divides out to two lanes, he roars around me and powers off up the hill, well over the limit, and I feel sorry for him, that he needs to be in such a rush, and is missing the glorious colors of the evening sky. Did he see the Echidna, slowly making it’s way across the road? He must have almost run over it, yet he did not slow down. I think to myself, What’s the rush? Life is so very short, it will be over before you know it, and here you are tearing headlong as though you are chased by the devil himself. So to the young man behind the wheel of that black Mazda, screaming out of town tonight, slow down darling, you’ll be safer, other road users will be safer, and you just might find that sticking to the speed limit actually does get you to your destination on time, and not in a coffin.
I turn off the highway onto our road, and I relax knowing I am almost home. What a magical word that is “home” . There are many views of what home might mean, but to me, home is where my husband is, where I have chosen to live my life, by his side. As I negotiate the curves, I’m thinking that the only thing that would make this life more perfect would be to have my children and grandchildren living here with us. I feel the prick of tears in my eyes as I think of my family, and as I make the last few turns to arrive in my street, I let my feelings have free reign, but only momentarily, for I refuse to be unhappy, and I know that the times we can have with them all, are wonderful and special because of the separation. Sometimes in life, you make hard decisions, decisions that hurt but must be made. You make memories with your children, and then memories with your grandchildren, and you hope that those memories will outlive you, that when you are gone, your children and grandchildren will remember and share the memories you all made together, it is part of the legacy you will leave behind.
I arrive at my home, and I see my husband is waiting for me, smiling slightly. I sigh, but it is a happy, contented sigh, I am home!