This “I remember when…” came from a conversation with my daughter. She asked me what I was going to do today and I told her I had to go to town. This caused a flashback of the excitement of getting to visit “town” when I was growing up.
Back in the good old days (good grief that makes me sound old!) …. anyway…..back in the good old days the phrase “We are going to town and going out to eat” carried a lot more weight than it does today.
These days we think nothing of getting in the car and heading to one of our nearby towns to shop or eat. But we lived on a farm that was sixteen miles from the nearest Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Independence and thirty miles from the small city of Galax. People planned their trips to town much better than we do now to both conserve gas and time.
When I was growing up getting to go to town mostly happened on a Saturday night. Ninety percent of our meals were eaten at home, shocking right? So it was exciting for a young girl to hear daddy say, “Call Betty and Joe and see if they want to go eat.” If they said yes then it was time to put on your good clothes, which were just a step below your “church” clothes and a step above your “play” clothes, and be ready for the ride.
Now the ride to Galax was nothing like it is today. The wonderfully smooth 4-lane of Route 58 didn’t exist. We went Carsonville Road, a winding, twisting, narrow, two-lane country road. The girls rode in the back seat in a Ford car that was so big it felt like you were floating down a river. You were also constantly bracing yourself for sharp turns and sudden braking. (Ugh….almost makes me car sick to think about it!)
And the smells…..at that time mom and Betty were into chewing Doublemint chewing gum, using a generous amount of White Rain hairspray (Extra Hold), and sporting double sprays of White Shoulders perfume.
So while I was in the back, sitting between them trying to be a big girl, trying not to get carsick and trying not to lose my cookies all over my “good” shoes, I was smelling those three combined fragrances. To this day I can’t stand Doublemint chewing gum, hairspray or a lot of perfume. But, finally, after what seemed like hours, we made it to Galax. We usually ate at the Western Sizzlin’, some seafood restaurant or Roses. Yep, Roses had a nice sit down restaurant which made it a one stop shop. To a little girl this was just cool getting to go out to eat and shop on a Saturday night.
By the time we had eaten, wandered around Roses for a while, and finally managed to coax mom and Betty out of the craft and dried flower section, I was tired enough to be able to sleep on the way home. This kept my supper inside me and made the four-hour ride seem much quicker! (Ok, it wasn’t, but it sure did feel like four hours!)
So now every time I pass a Roses I have to smile. Even though I’m getting older I’m proud of the fond memories I have of a simpler time and the thrill of getting to “go to town”.