It's that time of year. Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Soon I'll be donning my apron and dusting my counters with flour as I begin my first batch of holiday pies. (Pumpkin, Pecan, Sour Cherry and Apple.) Friends throughout our mini-metro are baking pumpkin rolls, picking up their free turkeys at Giant and planning their black Friday agenda. Tis the season.
I actually started this blog, two years ago this month, inspired by my love of living here in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This last year has been a hectic one, and my keyboard has been mostly silent while my family responsibilities have crept into the crevices of my "free" time. But it's Thanksgiving. And as I once again begin the mental tally of the blessings for which I'm grateful, I notice that the geography of our hearth and home still nears the top of my list.
Here's some of what comes to mind this year as I reflect on what's so great about Williamsport.
1. It's a Small Town
My husband and I took the kids to the Pajama Factory last weekend for Family Art Day. The wonderful things to describe about that event, as well as the others that were a part of the 2008 Governor's Awards for the Arts Celebration, are too numerous to mention. But at Family Art Day, we felt surrounded by a small, supportive and friendly world. It seemed we knew half of the faces we passed. Merchants we know and love, teachers, coaches, friends ... I cannot imagine a more secure place to raise a family. And yet, for all it's smallness, as the award suggests, we are big ~ so rich in culture and diversity and creativity.
2. The Library
Having grown up in the US of A, where free access to books seems an entitlement, it is easy to take the library for granted. But recently, budget pressures have caused me to use the library more frequently and I keep noticing how wonderful it is. For one thing, the employees treat every patron like a valued paying customer. All of them. I have noticed interactions between the staff and those humbly dressed, or not smelling their best, and even borrowers with a bite of belligerence on their tongue. Each guest is handled with deference, respect and even servitude. Frankly, I am awed by it. Not that this isn't how it should be -- but because really, how often do you actually see the poor and the rich treated equally? If you'd like a lesson in it, stop by JV Brown. Secondly, free books! And a lot of 'em! We have an immensely stocked library which allows us to borrow a tome on just about any subject or fancy, not to mention movies and computers, kids activities and job hunter's resources. The guy who checked out my books last night told me our library is the envy of the Northeast. If it's been awhile, reacquaint yourself. We have an absolutely incredible library.
Yes, I know, I've mentioned Otto's before. But I can't help it. It's one of the 5 oldest bookstores in the United States and it's right here in Williamsport, PA. If the history doesn't grab your attention, perhaps the service will. Go in just a few times. Here's another place where you don't have to spend a lot of money in order for them to know your name. Or remember which books you like. Betsy made a suggestion to me a few days ago based on what she knew of my reading tastes and I was amazed. How did she remember?! If you knew my meager book allowance, you'd wonder yourself. The lovely Alissa (inside and out) never fails to send me off with a smile. And if convenience is still your bottom line, I've got news for you. E-mail the title of the book you want to this address, you can pick it up later, or give your credit card number over the phone and have them mail it. They even giftwrap!
I could go on of course. But instead I'll let you do it. What are you thankful for about Williamsport? Comment to this post or tell us here.