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Monday, May 19, 2008

High Gas Prices could be GOOD?!

Okay, call me nuts, it won't be the first time, and I bet it won't be the last. I don't think that the gas prices raising at a rapid pace with no end in site a great thing, that's for sure. But can some good come of it?

Many of you know that I truly embrace the simple life. It pains me to know that I have a cell phone that I hate to use, rarely turn on, and can't get out of my contract. We don't have funky gadgets in our lives...no ipods, iphones, video game machines/systems, etc. I have the internet, but obviously, that's great for research and is, afterall, my bread and butter.

Our family has never gone on extensive or fancy vacations. Heading to Lancaster for a night, or a splurge of two nights, is exciting to us. I've also cut back on such things as makeup (scary, I know, but what am I trying to hide?), and am still growing my hair longer because it is simple and easy to care for. I'm even striving to let my hair grow back to it's natural (and now salt and pepper) color, but that is a bit more difficult I must admit.

What these higher gas prices say to us is that we should continue to live simplistically as we have been for years, and continue to find other ways that we can improve on.

But here's the kicker....I truly do think that we can use this as a good thing. Just hear me out.

Staying closer to home is nearly a necessity now. I've always been a homebody, so that's easy for me, but think of all you can do in your own community! Could these simple measures of staying close to home start to rebuild the American Dream and strengthen small-town America?

How many Mom and Pop stores closed because people were willing to drive farther to Walmart to save a few bucks? Now, that small savings has turned into a larger expense because that little store would have been right down the road versus driving several miles to a larger grocery store, pharmacy or even hardware store.

In my case, Springville sits in the middle of two small towns. Tunkhannock is 12 miles South and has a variety of larger supermarkets and of course, Walmart. Montrose is 12 miles North and also has two larger supermarkets and, well, that's about it.....a few antique stores, gift shops, etc. Literally a stones throw away from me used to sit a little market. It was great for picking up something for dinner, getting milk, juice, baby food, tylenol, special treats for the kids, and so much more! It closed about three years ago and how I miss that market! Now, we have to drive about 8 miles to a smaller market to get the bare essentials when we are out, and just think of the wasted gas.

I'm hoping that the higher gas prices bring back small town America. People are staying home, and maybe neighbors will actually TALK to one another now. Imagine families barbecuing in the Summer in their backyards instead of driving to a restaurant 15, maybe 20 miles away. Kids may actually play in the neighborhoods together and join in the local Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts for entertainment and learning in their own communities.

Small town hardware stores may crop back up to accommodate those who need something for that emergency repair and don't want to drive to the city to save $1 on an item, but would spend $10 on gas. Not only would you save in gas money, but wouldn't it be nice to have someone help you that you actually KNOW and can trust for home improvement advice versus someone that just was hired and doesn't have a clue?

How about small retail businesses like myself? I have a retail store here at our house. A cute little shoppe where someone in town can pop in and find a candle, handmade soaps or another handcrafted gift for a friend or loved one, and also pick up a greeting card....all without traveling 12 miles one way to Walmart? And guess what, I'll even (sometimes) remember you and greet you by name! Not to mention my internet business where sometimes shipping an item across country is cheaper than driving a few miles to buy it in person.

Already people are beginning to plant their own gardens to save on food costs this summer. Think of the bonding experience with your children and/or spouse, and a great educational tool for the kiddies as well. Families are carpooling to town together and spending time together instead of taking two, sometimes three, different trips separately to the same place at different times.

Church and Fire Department dinners and breakfasts are very popular where I live. Think of it....you can get a great meal at a great price without driving to go to a larger restaurant, and you are helping your local churches and fire companies provide community services at the same time.

Let's make these high gas prices a new revolution. Stand up and rejoice in a simpler life and make new priorities for yourself and your family. And don't call me crazy for thinking that the high prices could be a good thing.

Many blessings,
Mary Jo

3 comments:

Holly Tree Primitives said...

You sure do paint a pretty picture, MJ. Maybe you should send it into a candidate of you choice to use as their political platform. It could work.

I for one hope your vision becomes a reality.

~Michele

Mary Jo said...

I have actually considered contacting our Congressman and asking him to have some sort of initiative to promote community involvement and encourage the small town life once again. He is from the next town over (it's really just a zip code! LOL!), which is actually smaller than my little Springville, so he understands how important rural communities are, and he is very down to earth.

I know it's a stretch to ask people to try to think positively about this, but really, what else can we do? We can't change it much individually, but maybe our attitudes can result in something within ourselves, and our communities.

Thanks Michele!

Primgal55 said...

You said so well some things I have been thinking lately. Obviously the cost of gas is going to make hardship for those who must travel any distance for work or to care for sick or elderly family for instance, but I too believe some good can come of this.
I hope ir draws family closer and the can become more creative in spending time together, as well as the small town life you talk about. It will be interesting to see if this comes about! hugs. Linda