I've become a hermit, seriously. If I don't absolutely have to go out, I don't. In regard to paying bills, here, again, is the sweet spot of living in a small community. The cable bill is the same each month, and they do automatic billing, so that's set on automatic withdrawal. The electric, water and gas are different. The amounts change each month, and none of those do automatic billing. Well, maybe the electric does by now - it's been nearly 3 years.
Frankly, I am the world's worst on mailing in checks. I'm quite full of good intentions, which fall by the wayside. I am so spoiled by living in cities where every single bill can be set up on automatic, that for the life of me, I cannot handle actually writing a check, sticking it in an envelope, smacking a stamp on it, and mailing it. How friggin sad is that?
However, there is the nicest man that knocks on our door from the electric company who says, "Hi, dear. If ya don't pay, your lights go out." I quickly get the checkbook and pay, gladly. I keep thinking I must pay this darned bill in a timely fashon. But, but, but, I like the man that knocks on the door. Besides Uncle Charles, Aunt Agnes, and occasionally Julia, Jill and Jeanne, and Sheila, with a car payment, I don't have visitors. The electric man chats a few minutes while I write the check. He tells me about the new house he and his wife have moved into, and it lights up my whole day.
The City Clerk, Anita, calls me, and in not these words, says, Gayle, get your butt down here and pay the water bill or we'll cut it off. Occasionally, she misses a call, and when I realize I can't run water for coffee, I get cleaned up and walk into her office with a hang-dog look and pay the bill. Then we laugh, chat if the office is empty, and that makes my day.
On stores changing, Hocker's is changing as the times change. From the time I can remember, Hocker's had one big grocery store room and a room off of that that housed appliances and furniture for sale. At some point in time while I was away, they acquired the store next to them and brought in more appliances. Yet as the times changed so has their market, and they are doing a good job of adapting.
After the hardware store in Bardwell closed down last year, Hocker's started carrying more household repair items in the room next to the grocery and moved most of the appliances into the third room. I hope that works for them, and I'm glad because a lot of houses around have seriously old electrical systems, and finding fuses for this old house is frustrating.
But the upstairs of the second room always held furniture. There is a large wooden staircase, at least 8 feet wide, in the center of the room that leads to the second floor. There's a loft that runs around the front of the room, and they always had sofas, chairs, beds, kitchen tables, whatever you needed for a house on that second floor. My grandmother's chest of drawers from I don't know when had a Hocker's stamp on the back of it; it was likely bought in the 1920's. Jill and I tormented our mothers running up there the minute we hit the store.
Today I decided I was over the chairs in Lola's house, and that it was time to buy a comfortable recliner. While Joe was here, it wouldn't have worked as he would have thrown a fit. Since Mother can't even remember that Joe is dead, I figure she'll deal with a new chair in the house. Now, I knew that Hocker's was cutting back on it's furniture but still hoped they'd have a chair I'd like. I mean, really, I'm going to have either pay a $50 delivery fee to get a recliner from Paducah or beg help in getting a ten-ton chair out of the pickup truck and into the house.
So I walk into Hocker's, and to my dismay there wasn't stick one of furniture on the second floor. I nearly cried. On the one hand, I don't want to be one of those old women who simply can't adapt to changing times, but on the other hand, there are some things you just don't want to let go of.