Rendered Fat Content


Lewis Wickes Hine: Making Pittsburg Stogies (1909)

"Envy us."

The Muse and I feel blessed to live very near the end of most commercial logistics networks. This Center of Our Universe isn't conveniently on the way to or from anywhere. Our founding fathers made deliberate decisions to isolate this valley. Rebuffing the railroads, they chose to forego what would have most certainly caused commercial development. At the time of the great silver rush into Northern Idaho, Spokane, today a city of over 200,000 souls, amounted to a sawmill and an isolated Indian Agency. Walla Walla reached its commercial peak then, about the same size as now, with both prospectors and their supplies routed North through what was then the commercial center of the whole Northwest. No longer.

Likely, a few things on our shopping lists will not be available here for any price.
My toothpaste is in, at best sporadic supply. Fish can be iffy, too. We consequently have increasingly grown more accustomed to going without, to MakingDo, a fine art no longer exclusively practiced by those who survived The Great Depression. Oh, we've lived nearer commercial centers where with the inconvenience of killer traffic, we could access virtually anything in a few excruciating minutes. The finest delicacies from the furthest regions were ours to celebrate anything, even nothing. I fondly recall Captain White's on the Potomac waterfront when I survey our local supermarket's desiccated fresh fish selection. White's always had something like a hundred varieties glistening there on ice and a shack out back where a master would fillet anything for a remarkably modest price. We lived like kings when we lived there!

Now, we MakeDo, living like paupers always have. We settle for canned tuna. We place an order for delivery later in the month. We've grown careful about what we plan for supper and plot a meticulous course when approaching any holiday dinner. Last year we almost went begging for Thanksgiving turkey livers until we found a butcher who'd just spatchcocked a couple of birds and kept the innards. I wondered what the other hundreds seeking absolution in seasonal turkey liver might have done. I wondered, then went ahead and ate The Muse's excellent giblet dressing.

Recently, I discovered the finest beer in the world was brewed very close to us. That brewery's motto: Middle of Nowhere, Center of the Universe suited me well. If the finest beer can come out of the middle of nowhere, everyone living nearer the end of any logistics network might well take heart, for our location deprives us of nothing worth regretting. It challenges us to make something out of the nothing we often find on our supermarket shelves. We stock up on those increasingly rare occasions when we need to visit civilization, and we revel in the many local oddities that those living in the world's greatest cities will never find on their shop shelves.

I'm capable of substitution, a great gift for anyone needing their horizons opened. So what if I've never eaten an In and Out Burger®? I heard they were horrible. Even if they were great, I could live without the traffic. How better to learn how to handle disappointment than to make disappointment a part of my daily diet? The bread store's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. If I don't plan ahead, I go begging. I risk finding barren shelves if I'm not right there when the store opens. Demand exceeds supply out here on the road to the middle of nowhere, where the lettuce tends to be whatever everyone else first rejected, and we live on others’ leftovers when we can get them. The rest of the time, we're Honing our considerable and ever-expanding MakingDo skills. Envy us. We can make silk purses out of damned near anything and do.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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