Thursday, July 7, 2011

Time at the Feed Store: Priceless.

Chicken layer crumbles, 50 pounds, $15.50.
Black oil sunflower seed, 25 pounds, $18.
Barn cat food, 40 pounds, $25.
Pinlock offset insulators, $15.25/bag.
MuckBoots, $95.
Western Range Mineral, 50 pounds, $27.
Deer Out spray, $15.
Coffee, free.
Time at the feed store, priceless.

As I approach my third anniversary here at the counter of Front Range Supply, I have come to realize that much of my job lies OUTSIDE of retail. Away from ordering, inventory, bean-counting, trouble-shooting, making coffee,dusting shelves, weeding gardens, mopping the floors, loading feedbags, hauling salt, or stacking twine bales, lies my most important job: I am a person in a place that serves as a community conduit.

I am in the place where people pause after breaking news: life, death, and near-misses are all relayed here. Surprisingly candid conversations about marriage, parenting, divorce, separation, custody, finance, and local history are all had here. I am the voice on the phone for directions, wrong numbers, recommendations and quite often, locating a person (most often a husband) who is missing in action at the moment.

I stand near the coffee table, affectionately known as "the round table", where matters of calving illness, cereal crop pests, spirituality, politics, and ALWAYS the weather, are discussed. It is a most cordial environment when two long-opposed individuals, rather than argue, just sit side by side and ignore each other, one quietly taking his leave after a bit.

It is on our front sidewalk that children make chalk drawings and women watch our flower and vegetable plots with anticipation of what colors and foods will emerge this late summer. Dogs on their daily walk stop for a treat and walkers pop in to use the facilities or take a breather.

It is in the creek that runs along side of the property where ducks nest and water-lovers swim, float, fish, wade, and picnic. Truly life flows in this place.

"Clerk" is a word that both over-describes and under-describes my occupation. My job is more than a paycheck and less than a career, but it has been thus far, a wonderful way to use my education, my passion, and to keep my extroverted self, fully satiated.

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