Relish a big day in or out

Published 10:54 am Friday, December 2, 2011

Those red cups are back.
You know the ones: Tall, Grande, Venti and, if you want to be up at 3 am, putting up vinyl siding, the 32-ounce Trenta!
It’s not that I’m even a regular customer of Starbuck’s. If anything, I’m a hot tea (with milk, please) drinker, but, well, when you see those festive, red cups appear, you know the holidays are upon us and it makes things a bit cheerier, doesn’t it?
“It really is the simple things that are such treats,” I said to a newspaper journalist during a recent interview. “Don’t you think?”
To illustrate, I had used an example given by American author, Bill Bryson, who, after moving to England, wrote about what his new life was like. He explained that while Americans tended to find happiness in large, splashy things, Brits could be easily delighted by nothing more than a bit of cake and a hot cup of tea on a lousy, rainy, day.
“Isn’t that lovely?” they’d sigh, rubbing their hands.
“I know what he means,” agreed the writer, Joe. “I’m from New Jersey and grew up with ‘Dunkin Donuts’ and they don’t have them where I live but when I drive my kids up to Greenville for their soccer games, I’ve found one there! I was so happy I even took a photo of it to send to my friends. As a matter of fact, there’s two Dunkin Donuts in Greenville and I plugged them right into my GPS.”
It’s just the thought of such a road trip which is one of the best things about small town living, I find: you’re miles away from anything and I’ve never understood how people, particularly those new to the area, can complain about that.
“It’s just ridiculous,” I’ve heard them grumble, “that I have to drive half an hour to get to a Home Depot.”
“But that’s why you moved here!” I counter. “You wanted to get away from strip malls and traffic and crime. Besides, when you have to drive 30 miles to get to your Home Depot, it becomes a big day out!”
“Buying a faucet is a big day out to you?” they reply.
“Well, sure!”
This generally ends the conversation but not before I’m given a look that says, “Funny, you don’t look like a simpleton…”
Each autumn, I cannot wait to hightail it up the road to Saluda. It’s just under a half hour the back way, where the road winds leisurely around the mountain. But it’s not the glorious foliage or charming cabins that dot the route that draws me, it’s one particular cider mill that sells the best apple and pumpkin butter around. I can’t live without it. The leaves and the waterfalls I pass along the way are just icing on the cake of this excursion. I carry my booty into the house with the fierce protectiveness of a mother wolf carrying her newborn cub, snarling at anyone or thing that might mistakenly come too close.
And that, folks, is a Big Day Out!
So, while the rest of you ladies were planning your best hit-and-run attack strategy for this year’s ‘Black Friday’ shopping, I was wishing you well while tucked up on the sofa with a mug of hot tea and a plate of hot, buttered, toast slathered with pumpkin butter.
And that, folks, is a Big Day In!

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