Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time Marches On

Flemington is a very small town (only about a mile square) and the majority of my daily business is concentrated on just one street of it. On sunny days I walk from my apartment down where Main Street begins, just beyond the traffic light, to my jobwhere Main Street ends, at the war monument.

Flemington is a pretty town, very nice for walking. Victorian homes line streets shaded by trees and punctuated by stone urns filled with flowers. It is still the type of small town where everybody knows everybody else, for better or worse.
Main Street on a sunny fall afternoon
Recently my oven mysteriously stopped working. With the holidays approaching I decided I'd better get the thing fixed. I called up Burkett Supply and was pleased to hear they could send somebody out the very next day. They said they'd call when the repair man was on his way over.

"Oh good." I said. "Just give me about 20 minutes notice so I can walk home in time." The man on the other end of the phone snorted and said he could walk up and down Main Street three times in twenty minutes, but that would be fine with him.

The following day when I got the call I grabbed my jacket and my house key and set off down the street at a brisk pace. I'm 4'11" and don't take big steps, so my idea of a brisk pace probably isn't all that brisk. I was only about halfway there when I heard a voice yell "Hey there, are you Kelly?"

It was the repair man from Burkett Supply, leaning out the window of his van.

"Hop in!" He said. A white haired gentleman in his later years, neatly dressed in a blue uniform, he knew which driveway was mine without me having to tell him. "I put most of the ovens in back here years ago."

While he worked on the oven we exchanged a bit of local gossip. Although we chatted mostly about current events, something about the conversation reminded me of days gone by. Maybe it was just that he knew my landlord and half the neighbors, or that he talked about the goings on over at the American legion and the Ringoes Grange.

Having lived here most of my life, I remember when elderly farmers in baggy overalls still hung out down at the grain elevator and the famed Flemington Speedway still sent the roar of stock car engines and dust from the dirt track floating over town on a Saturday night.
Flemington Speedway in all its former glory
That Flemington is long gone now, of course. A Lowes and a Walmart replaced our beloved race track several years ago and what is left of the grain elevator will soon be torn down to put in more fancy retail shops. Even run of the mill farmers seem to be gone now, replaced by younger, hipper, "artisan" growers down at the weekly farmers market.

As the Flemington I recall from childhood is fading away, a new and seemingly fancier one is emerging. I have mixed feelings about the fancier bit, but not all the changes are bad ones. I'm looking forward to seeing what Flemington's future looks like. Even so, it was still nice to shoot the breeze with somebody who remembers the Flemington I grew up in.

Thank you Mister Oven Repair Man, wherever you are.

No comments:

Post a Comment