Thursday, May 6, 2010

Small-Town Lover

I was walking around town today, and realized how much I love the small town I live in (recently voted Best Tiny Town in Western Washington--I guess compared to Seattle it is pretty tiny). 

Most days I intern at the local newspaper, La Conner Weekly News, and on my lunch break I go walking. This is mainly because I need a break from sitting down and typing, and I love to just walk around this town.

Usually I walk to the Pioneer Market to order a sandwich. You can walk up to the counter in the back and pick-up a pre-made sandwich, or order a custom one using a small form. I almost always order one, as it is fresher, and they stuff the sandwich more when the customer can see them make it.

It's always the same order: Check "yes" for tuna, no to cheese, write-in "Hogi" for bread (it's on the "secret menu"--you can get it when you request it), mustard, mayo, and pickles. Done, and done.

This sandwich isn't a Subway foot-long--maybe more like 8 or 9 inches--but it's still really good. And with tax it comes out to be five dollars and a quarter, with seven cents change. ($5.18).

Selling good sandwiches goes pretty far with me, but this market has its flaws. For one, our newspaper (the only local, town-based paper) isn't selling like it used to there, pre-November 18, 2009. (One can make their own inferences on why that is). For "whatever" the reason, the paper is no longer prominently showcased at the three cashiers, and on the rack it is located on the bottom.

On top of that, the most recent faux pas I've noticed is that they have stopped ordering Jones Soda, the beloved Canadian drinks with awesome flavors, and even better label art. I've been told the drug store down the street sells them, but have yet to see for myself.

Anyways, that's not what I'm talking about in this post. My love for this cooky, unique town is what I'm writing about:

Depending on what kind of day it is outside, I'll walk towards the "entrance" of town to the La Crema Coffee Shop to pick up a warmer-than-the-weather chai. If the owner, Troy, is in I'll usually talk with him for some time, whether its about the flood of tourists during Tulip Season (April), the most recent political folly, or just how the day has been (customer-wise). Once and a while the coffee shop locals will drop in, artists and writers like Curt McCauley, Jim Smith, Fred Owens, or Kevin Paul.

La Crema Coffee, in what used to be 'the "Bonsai House" back in the 80's.'

When the shop gets full, or I have to go eat my lunch quick to go back to work, I walk down to the public park by the Channel. I'll enjoy my meal in company of a few strolling locals, and maybe a daring seagull once and a while. If the weather is finicky, then I have to eat my sandwich faster than the weather can change.

View of the Channel, and the famous and oft-photo'd Rainbow Bridge

At the end of the day, I like taking a walk around the town--even though I've done it so many times. The air is fresh, the sights are unique, and I am constantly noticing little details all over the town; whether its a new doorway, a hidden part of a building, or finding new vantage points of the stores.

View from the Civic Garden Club, looking down on First Street shops

The beauty of a town this size is being able to walk from literally one end to the other within ten minutes of walking. If I'm downtown and hear about a softball (er..."fast-pitch"), basketball, or football game, I can easily walk to the school to cheer on the Braves.

It's funny to think that six and a half years ago I moved here and absolutely hated it--well, more so the thought of being away from my homeland of New Mexico (and yes, that is in the country, nestled between Colorado, Texas, and Arizona). Now, the thick-leafed, nook-and-cranny-growing moss, known as Northwesternius appreciatii has thrived in my mind.

Northwesternius appreciati, in its early stages of maturity

(I also find it especially funny that the old NM gets more thunderstorms, snow, and possibly rain than it the region I live).

Here's to the crazy, colorful, and comfortable-but-definitely-not-sleepy town that I have come to love!


  1. Thank you, I enjoyed reading your thoughts about La Conner. I moved here from Seattle nearly 10 years ago because I wanted to live here and have never regretted that decision. I always think, how can one not love it here. I'm curious why you chose to move here. Will look forward to reading your future blogs.

  2. Great blog....The plant nursery actually was the "Bonsai House" back in the 80's. I have been coming to La Conner for 30 years. When my baby who is now 31 this Sept wore an infant sized boat coat. We came up for free vacations with our inlaws out to the San Juans on their yacht. Now we live here, came from Portland 5 years ago. Love it for all the reasons you mentioned. You are a great writer. Keep smilin!

  3. New Mexico is my first love in this country,then I had an extra marital affair with the Pacific Northwest,that has become my other favorite. I love that in La Conner too, that it is a pedestrian friendly town, a rarity. And every single day I am grateful to be living here.

  4. Having experienced La Conner ourselves, we can appreciate the virtues that you have described. La Conner is truly a special place & is well-suited to someone as perceptive as you are.

    We eagerly await your return visit to NM.
    Love, Grandma & Grandpa K.

  5. I really liked reading this, Alexander.

    I love and miss La Conner so much! I remember dreading living there as a kid and teenager but upon leaving have truly appreciated it's unique charm. I always have fond memories when I think of La Conner and can't wait to come back and visit.