Thursday, October 27, 2011

Small Town Business

     Business is a tad different in a small town.  Of course, business is geared to suit the needs of a certain area.  I begin with this picture because I love the quirky, old fashioned feel of it.  It is an age old "sign", most likely has been there for years and they just paint around it once in awhile.  By the way, it is a car dealership.  If you were to walk inside it probably still has the old counter top.  Maybe a few modern conveniences have been added, but it still has that "Mayberry" feel to it.
     Even in everyday business operations, things tend to be different in a rural area.  Most stores will keep a running account for you that you pay off each month.  You really do hear people say "Just put it on my tab".  Because you know everyone, you also know who you can trust-- or whom you can't!  Many stores have a large hand written list, place prominently somewhere in the store giving names of people who have written bad checks. Several stores even have names of people posted out front who are not even allowed in!!  In contract type work, your word is as good as gold.  Even a simple handshake is as binding as a signed contract.

Local gas station and liquor store.
         Often small businesses have to diversify.  Two or more separate operations can be run under the same name.  In the big city you can get by with specializing in one certain area, for instance:  counter tops, tires or carpet.  I've even seen stores that only sell candles, ball caps or flags.  One wonders how they make it, but they have a much larger population to deal with.  In a rural area, you sometimes have to combine techniques and abilities in order to make your business work.  My husband installs seamless gutters, yet also has a mowing and snow removal business.  Besides the gutters, he will also do construction, tile, plumbing, electrical and tree removal just to keep the business going!  Talk about diversify!!
     I have seen some humorous business linked together.  While driving through a small town in Illinois, I saw a sign that stated: "Miller's Car Repair and Cafe". Hmmm.  'Hope the mechanic doesn't do the cooking too!
     Not long ago I saw this advertisement locally:
    By the looks of the play toys in the fenced in yard, she must run a daycare as well.
     When times are rough, we rural people still do things the old fashioned way.  Services can be exchanged for services.  Sometimes business is given in the form of a gift when a family is struggling.  We all know each other, and we all know each other's needs.  So, it's just part of everyday life to help someone out if you have the ability to do so.  Sometimes a genuine "Thank you" and a handshake are the best pay you can ever get.  But, you'll get that in a small town....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old Settler's Parade 3

     In a rural area, the categories of entries in the parade are usually different than the ones that are entered in, for instance, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Here are a few you won't see there.
Of course, there are always the tractors.  It is a long line of proud owners driving their spiffed up, shiny machines.  Most folks don't understand the love of a tractor. It's not just a hobby, it's a way of life for these farmers; and to own something that is this old, and still works, and may have belonged to your grandpa is a  great reason to show it off.
     Now, those of you who have lived in a rural area understand the importance of color when it comes to a tractor.  There is a major competition between those that are red and those that are green.  In fact, farmers often come to blows over the qualities of each color and why one is better than the other! I didn't mention the blue or the yellow........

And, here they come in full force, the few, the proud, the GREEN! 
 (I won't mention which brand broke down right in the middle of the parade....)

There are always the unusual tractors that folks have to show off too!

Our next category is what I like to call the "Redneck Entries".  And, appropriately we begin with the "Redneck Limo".

For those of you who haven't seen a normal pickup in awhile, this one has been modified to make the bed extra long.  Yeah, you could fit a lot of passengers in there!

Next up, we have those entries that look like we rural people have a little too much time on our hands.
My husband informs me that this is several different old car and truck parts put onto a pickup truck chassis.

Notice the warning sign near the misplaced tailpipe.  It says "Caution: Noise Hazard Area."  Yes, hearing protection is definitely recommended.
     And now, the rivalry between and green and red comes back into play with an owner who is so sold on "green" that he painted a vintage car in those colors.  Oh dear.......John Deere.
     Well, that's the end of the parade.  There were many, many other splendid entries, but I only had room to show these.  The parade always ends with the horse and mule riders and teams.  They always are at the end of the parade because.......well, you know why.
     We also have a super fantastic high school band that makes everybody stand up and cheer because they are the best around and have travelled to such exotic places and won trophies and represented our county so excellently!  We all love them and cry when we hear them because they are the best.....but you'll get that in a small town.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Old Settler's Parade 2

More pics from the small town parade.  No parade is complete without the stream of old, refurbished vehicles.  What a great way to show them off!  I took this picture for my husband. He would love to have this truck!

It amazes me that something over 100 years old can still be driven.  Wow!
Next come the beautiful "finned" cars of the 50's and 60's.

  You don't get to see these very often except on parade day and on an occasional Sunday afternoon drive.
They sure don't make them like they used to! 
Boy, that's one big boat!!

And then, there are always the boys that have to show off their toys:
I wish I could insert sound here.  You would hear the overpowering revving of his engine.  Of course, the driver doesn't remember that he does the same thing every Friday night.....but you'll get that in a small town.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Old Settler's Parade

     Our small town celebrates "Old Settler's Day" in late September.  It usually means a baby contest, little prince and princess contests, baking contests, car show, tractor show, dog show, and many of the other ways that we rural people like to play and show off in.  We also have our once a year parade. There is usually some kind of theme to help those who do the floats come up with an idea to work with.  I'll just give you the pictorial tour to give you some idea as to what goes on in a parade in a small town.
The parade always begins with the local veterans carrying the flags.  It is always an honor to be chosen to carry and to represent our town in this way. 
Next come the fire trucks. The firemen like to get their gear on and show off the bells and whistles, literally.
And, even though they may be old........
or once had some other purpose....
     you can be proud that you are a volunteer and help to keep the community safe!

Next come the princesses and queens. There are always several categories of these.

Including the "Watermelon Princess"!!?!?  Not sure what contest that was.

Who is this young man representing?

Why, the Moose Lodge, of course!

This year's theme was "My favorite Holiday", so there were many entries that were about Christmas and Thanksgiving.  We all like to represent our business or organization in a unique way, and a parade is an opportunity to do that!    But, you'll get that in a small town....
*More pictures to come!