“Let’s go to Nezperce today, look around and get some supplies,” said Mike yesterday (Tuesday, May 13). WooHoo! Shopping! We were out of milk and some other staples, too. I was ready with list in hand. Mike loaded Bess and Nellie in the back of the Dakota and we headed out.
The thing is, Nezperce is a tiny community – pop. 466. The business section covers three short blocks with the school at one end and the fairgrounds at the other. In between sits millions of dollars of agricultural inventory – new and used – belonging to two implement businesses.
We parked in the middle of town and began our tour. We passed the bank and the fire station and crossed the street to the old hotel, a neat-looking building now home to a title business, an attorney’s office, and a restaurant that’s open Sundays and special occasions. Oh – and if you need a hotel room, call one of the three names posted in the window for assistance.
At the post office we mailed a card.
Then we came to one of the four (or is it six?) big equipment lots, this one bordered by used John Deere lawnmowers. Mike couldn’t resist. He was on one in a flash and had it running. (Good thing he wasn’t in the market for a combine!) I walked on as if I didn’t know him, but in such a small community I’m sure no one was fooled. Did I think they’d want $500 for the lawnmower, Mike asked. More, I said. The actual asking price was $900. “I’ll keep my old mower,” Mike confided as we moved up the other side of the street. “It sounds better anyway.”
We passed a pizza parlor and a bar, both closed and devoid of any sign of life. We wondered if they were viable businesses. A cute little park looked fresh and inviting. We passed another attorney’s office – at least one – and a credit union.
A weekly newspaper is published here. The sign on the door announced their hours: “When the door is unlocked and someone is inside. When closed, shove news items under the door.”
Nope – no big box stores here -- not even a general store. No pharmacy, no cute little boutique, not even an antique store. Clearly, it’s the place to go only if you’re shopping for a new combine (or maybe an attorney), but you won’t find much else.
Arriving at the grocery store, I took one of their big carts. “Are you getting that much?” asked Mike. Well, I was certainly getting more than I wanted to carry in my arms – bananas, a lemon, a bag of spinach, a head of lettuce, creamer, a loaf of bread, juice, two gallons of milk, and a birthday card for a grandson turning ten.
“Do we need two gallons of milk?” questioned Mike.
“I think we do,” I said. (One gallon is half gone already, by the way.)
It costs a bit more to buy in a small town, but we agreed it’s good to support the service. KW