I’ve taken over getting the morning newspaper when we’re at our cabin in Camp Sherman. This used to be Laurel’s responsibility. She'd drive to the store before going for a walk with Serena, our dog.
But with my new Taoist sensibilities, I figure it’s more real for me to be riding my bike in the cool central Oregon air than sitting on my butt at the kitchen table, waiting for the newspaper to appear, drinking coffee and reading, in a Tao Te Ching book, about the benefits of living more naturally.
Then I arrive at the Camp Sherman city center. Today this old car passed me on the road and got to the store just before me. It fit perfectly with the store’s (non-functional) gas pumps. Sorry for the generic term, “old car,” but that’s the best I can do.
While I was taking the photo I was impressed to hear a guy yelling at the driver, “Hey, isn’t that a ’28 or a ’29?” I think the owner replied, “No, it’s a ’30.” Given the evident level of macho car expertise in the Camp Sherman store parking lot, I was reluctant to ask the much more basic question: “Hey, what kind of car is that?”
I love the alphabetically-organized customer account pads behind the counter. They remind me of the Three Rivers Market, the one and only store in Three Rivers, California when my mother and I moved there in 1955. Just like Camp Sherman, if you were a resident you put your purchases on account and paid at the beginning of the month, or when you could.
There’s only a few hundred year-round residents in Camp Sherman. Reminiscing with the store clerk today, I told her that the town where I grew up was similar in that there were lots of tourists around in the summer, but just locals later on.
“If an unfamiliar person walked into the store during the winter,” I said, “the locals would talk about them after they left: ‘Do you know who that was?’”
The clerk told me, “We’re just the same here. Except we flat-out ask them, ‘Who are you?”
In a world where everything seems to be changing, it’s nice to know that small towns aren’t. Stay the same, Camp Sherman. I love you as you are.