Things you take for granted as you spend seven years of your life in one town, become glaringly apparent once you leave. Wharton has a population of about 9000 folks, is the county seat and about 65 miles from Houston. Our new home, Richmond, I was surprised to learn actually only has a population of 11,000 or 11,002 now that Lauren and I have come. It is the county seat of Fort Bend and about 25 miles from Houston. And therein, lies the major differences in the cities. Richmond is a suburb of Houston, with a Houston feel to restaurants, people and services. There are pockets of rural life here but Wharton is rural life.
Here is the list of things Lauren and I have noted so far: Wal-mart as the major store in Wharton is where we spent most of our time. So, changes in policy from store to store really got our attention. First, we knew almost every clerk at Wal-Mart, from the efficient older blonde with her hair in a braid down her back and a Rambo like headband around her forehand. She once asked if we could take her older mare. It still rode pretty good, she told us, just missing an eye and crippled in the knees. The young assistant manager could always be counted on to get us through the lines quickly. I saw Frontline Flea control on 50% off sale once. It didn’t ring up right. He gave it to me for 75% off! I would have bought all they had. Not only does the staff know us and our animals but it was highly likely that if I was covered with manure, we would see someone we knew. The new Wal-Mart is twice as big, no one we know is there and we have not begun to identify and get to know the help. Oh, and your prescriptions, that you could put in your cart and pay for up front at the regular cash register in Wharton, don’t try that here! Security is called and you are dragged back to the pharmacy to complete your purchase there. And don’t try to go buy mulch for your garden on a Tuesday night. You can’t buy it if there is no one there to load it for you. You are not trusted to load it yourself.
Lauren and I went to look at tractors. We picked one out. We waited for the paperwork to be done. We ran out for some lunch and when we got back, our salesman was busy with another customer. Ever impatient, I told the salesman, I had to go. He said that was fine he would deliver the tractor to our house Monday. I asked “what about the contract and down payment, don’t you need those now?” “Don’t worry, I trust you”. Where does that happen? Not in the city.
The local feedstore knew us and our weekly order by heart. They were ready with the feed order as we walked through the door. When we needed panels to keep Bruno safe, the feedstore folks loaded them up, delivered them and installed them for us when they arrived! When we moved up here, we had gates ordered and once again, they were delivered to our doorstep. The feedstore here has yet to even get our order right.
Although not because we wanted to, we certainly knew most of the staff (good and bad) at the local hospital. The clinic staff was well-known to us as well. If we needed something, they would take care of us. My same doctor that I have been going to for five years, has an office in our new town, but I cannot see him here, his practice is closed. Does that make sense to anyone?
Wharton had two Mexican restaurants if you leave out Taco Bell. It didn’t take long to figure out your favorite. Here there is a Mexican restaurant on every other corner. I have no idea which one is the good one.
So, for all my complaining about Wharton, I am quickly learning, I had a lot to be grateful for in my small town!
I continue to give thanks and be oh so pleased to see get well cards continue to show up for my mom! I am grateful for your thoughtfulness.