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By Katherine Johnson

Painted Lady – Camas Club – 101 West Main Street – Craigmount, ID 83523

When I am out wandering with no map in hand or purpose at hand, I find pleasure when I come upon some small town whether it be some old friend or stranger place.

For those places I think I know, I fall into a match game of memory versus what is plainly before me. On other occasions the game is all about conjuring up the emotions of how these places have stayed stuck in my head as a curled smile or long stares about times I would rather not remember.

For the stranger places how one ends up on the obligatory main drag is the first phase. At times these entrances are nothing more than a clogged place in the arteries, veins, or capillaries that connect to the rest of America.

At other times the main drag is a whole new path that leads to an aneurysm where one finds the commercial life that draws their reason for existence, parasites, from the surrounding land.

Once there, where there may or may not be, are the stark contrasts of the boom of ambition and the bust of failure. Some, like a local grocery store, are but one Wal-Mart away from obliteration, while others, say the local taverns, get by in good times and thrive when hope gets crushed out by some commodity bear market, divorce, or a hand sliced to pieces in a packing plant accident.

Still there are great charms to discover.

Other than gas stations there is one chain store that seems to know no limit of how small a market it will pursue: the blue and yellow Napa Auto Parts store.

Often there are places that are so self evident that, information the uninformed deem necessary, is redundant.

After all why should a shop called Dave’s Repair need to tell the world what he repairs?

For the fancier towns, that can sustain a municipal golf course, I have encountered a self serve payment box sign that simply states you must pay before playing without ever stating how much it costs.

Such things should be self evident and if they are not that should be taken as a major hint that your time to move on has arrived. Such things are permanently etched into my soul as curled smiles.

And from time to time one can find echos about a time when life was very different and on occasion quite scandalous such as a painted lady waiting for a some gentleman caller to take her behind some shuttered windows.

Copyright 2016 – Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved