Thursday, October 24, 2013

The 15 Things I'll Miss Most About Salem

Ever heard that story about the old man on a bus? He meets two newcomers to his town. "How did you like the last place you lived?" he asks each of them. One says she loved her last home -- the people were wonderful, the scenery astounding and the life fulfilling. He smiles at her and says, "So shall it be for you here."

He then asks the same question to the man. "Oh, it was awful," he replies. "The people were rude, there was nothing to do and I was miserable a lot."

The old man smiles again and says, "So shall it be for you here."

If that's true -- if you get out of a place what you put into it, and you will see what you choose to in a location -- then I'm gonna love the tea and cookies out of Britain.

And while we look forward to the adventure that is England, I definitely have certain things I'm going to miss about my beloved Salem.

In no particular order, here they are:

  • The State Capitol in springtime. Oh dear goodness, it just doesn't get any prettier than when those cherry blossoms are in full bloom! And the site of the "Oregon Pioneer" -- covered in gold paid for by schoolchildren, I think -- always makes me smile. It's shiny, even on rainy days. Not to mention very helpful for navigating when you get lost (ahem).
Heather Boyd and a satisfied client...or not.

  • The people who keep me physically sane and decent-looking. Every woman knows a critical component of happiness is finding an amazing hairstylist and masseuse. If you're local and looking, check out Stacey Smith at Russell's Salon on Commercial for fabulous hair, and Heather Boyd at Caring Touch Massage for kink-free muscles (call 503.316.8108 to schedule an appointment). You're welcome.

  • The A.C Gilbert House children's museum. Quite possibly one of the coolest places ever for both kids AND adults! Great rates for yearly membership and perfect for any sort of weather. We love this place!
Okay, so our Little Caesar's guy is less like a tall black dude and more like a super-thin Hispanic...but you get the idea.

  • The dancing Little Caesar's Guy on Lancaster. He's out there most days of the week, rain or shine for hours at a time. And he's always happy. Mr. Caesar's got some moves, too!

    • The clearance racks at Safeway. When I get shampoo for 27 cents, it is a serious high for me. Definite highlight of every Friday!

  • New Hope Foursquare Church. I've written about the love we feel for our church before, and I'll say it again: New Hope is full of awesome people and stories. From the former Mexican coyote to a dear friend who escaped from Nazis in Berlin to another couple who runs orphanages all over South and Central America, New Hope has an international family feel. We're all sinners, we all love God and each other, and we all love to laugh. Doing so together is even more fun. :-)

  • Riverfront Park & the Carousel. So maybe old carousels are a dime-a-dozen in Europe. But for now, we're still enamored with this one.

    • The people I see while running. I know all the regulars and have given them names. There's The Russian, Cowboy & his Eskimo, Santa Claus and Santa Claus' Daughter, Geisha and Little Pinwheel for starters. They have very active lives in my imagination (it helps pass the time while pounding the pavement). All of them smile at me and some even call out encouragement. And when they stop to talk to each other, it kind of blows my mind -- new plot twists for my running stories!

  • Salem Academy. More than just Jack's school, SA has been a source of friendship, baby-sitters and pleasant Friday nights for our family. We love stepping outside every fall and hearing the marching band play, the anthem sang and the crowd going wild for Crusader football.

  • The Apocalypse RV. This is probably going to be the weirdest item on my list. But for some reason, this mysterious RV cracks me up. It randomly appears in parking lots all over North Salem and has since at least the last election. Strangely, I've never seen its owner and am not sure I would want to! I don't agree with your methods, man, but thanks for the color in my day.

  • The MOPS group at Court Street Christian Church. There is a reason I keep business cards for this group in my running stroller and purse and hand them out to moms I meet at playgrounds. It's simply fantastic, that's why!

  • Downtown. Pedestrian-friendly, free parking, right on the river, great shopping, historic, beautiful buildings and a mysterious past. Nick and I had a great date night a while back taking a haunted walking tour of the area. If you can keep a straight face, you should try it, too!

  • Plato's Closet & Once Upon a Child. If you know me, you know I love good deals. These stores (PC for adults and OUaC for kids) are most definitely steps up from Goodwill and the Salvation Army. You want to make me happy, just give me $20 and set me loose in one of these stores.

    And finally...

    Salemites. If I had to narrow it down to one, this would be it. From the old man who left pennies for Jack to find all over Safeway to the stranger who loaned me her son's shoes for half an hour (those are some stories for another blog), this community has embraced me as a mother, woman and citizen. All the awesome businesses and buildings in the world would mean nothing if not for even better people.

    Your turn, readers! What would YOU miss if you left your town or city?