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Thursday, April 11, 2013


     radial LT, by tj worthington

Selma told me in the coffee shop this morning, and I saw later she'd put it on facebook, that she sold the coffee shop to Matt Kovacich, who grew up here, and his wife. It's a sad day to find out that Selma is leaving. She made a successful business in Sparta during the republican depression that is closing business after business in Sparta. Selma's business is thriving. The nature of the place will change altogether. It will also be a restaurant. I've an idea it will work. My inclination is to resist Selma leaving, but I override the flare of emotion with rational mind to remind myself to allow, allow the flow to work out as it will. It is a flow that only intersects a very little bit with my flow. I do not have controlling interest. It's like the preacher changing at church all of a sudden. I cannot predict how the new manifestation will feel. Selma being gone is like losing the preacher you joined the church for. I have to articulate for myself that I cannot hang on to Selma's presence at the coffee shop when she is not there. It would be as unrealistic as imagining myself with stage charisma. It will be good the place will be a restaurant too, to break the spell of Selma's vibe in the place. I know she feels immense sorrow having had to make the decision. I felt immense sorrow hearing her tell it. At first I felt the inward pull to fall into sorrow, then came what we learn after a lifetime in civilization, not to go with it.

I don't want to lay expectations on the new Kovacich feel the place will have. I will practice allowing again, allow them to make it according to their dream and allow that dream to become at least the success it has become so far with Selma. I believe I can trust that certain of the "regulars" will continue, possibly all. I will make it a point in myself to avoid expectation and allow the flow to be whatever it is. I have another inclination to say Sparta needs Selma here, a successful business on Main St. But Sparta doesn't care. The people of Sparta do not support local businesses except banks, gas stations, liquor store, grocery stores. It's not in Sparta's nature to take an interest in its own. It has never yet occurred to Sparta that taking an interest in the individual businesses in town matters in any way. A bag of black oil sunflower seeds from Walmart is half the price as the same size bag from Farmer's Hardware. B U T. The Walmart bag has 20 lbs of seeds in it and the Farmer's Hardware bag has 40 lbs of seeds. By marketing trickery Walmart is half the price of Farmer's Hardware, when in fact the price is the same at Farmer's as at Walmart. So why send my money to a Caymans Islands bank when what little I have can circulate in the economy where I live? I'd rather give my money to Farmer's Hardware than Walmart any day of the year, even if it costs more. I'm not boycotting Walmart to save the world, because the world is already gone. It's like that teenage thing, be true to your school. In grown up life, I like to think in terms of be true to your town.

Town and county government expresses zero interest in any business in town, except negative interest: gimme. Town and county government are aloof to town businesses, regard them with suspicion instead of with a spirit of welcome and cooperation. Especially when they're Cuban or Mexican or Chinese or Japanese or Canary Islands or Columbians or from anywhere off the mountain or from anywhere on the mountain. Once I told a friend with a business in town who was planning to leave, "Sparta needs you." Answer, "No it doesn't." When I was closing my business, a few people said, Sparta needs you, and I said, No it doesn't. And it didn't. The town of Sparta is indifferent. The ongoing weak attempts at cosmetic Martha Stewart façade surgery has come to nothing. Widening the sidewalks does not mean people will come here from other places to walk on them. Sparta is not a corpse, but only it's vital organs are functioning. Sparta's mind is asleep and has been for a long time. Maybe it's in a coma. I'm inclined to suspect it has always been asleep, but the old people told me Sparta was a lively place until interstates and corporate box stores took the business other places. The so-called Powers That Be don't give a shit about Sparta or anybody in it. High Meadows Country Club is where it's at. Like our so-called representatives in Raleigh and DC, all they want to do with us is the money they can bilk us for. It makes it hard to live in the spirit of "be true to your town," when you know your town will not be true to you.

But things go on and adapt to circumstances. One thing that has happened in Sparta, the shopping went with the parking lots. The rents by the parking lots are such that a business is there more for paying rent than perpetuating itself. In Old Sparta around the Old Courthouse the business is so bad the rents can't be quite so high, but still a business anywhere in Sparta puts all its money into rent and every kind of fee there ever was. Having a small business in Sparta amounts to a hobby until you run out of money to keep it going. I don't see anything but cosmetics happening to Sparta and the rain washes that away. But we still have the head of Farmer Bob Doughton on the courthouse lawn. Sparta could become an interesting place if enough people wanted it to happen. There is history to be written, much history to be written. We have people in the county from all over the world. We have people of every level of education and field of interest. We have a variety of international restaurants. Only the middle class has any money to spend in this time of the working class in depression. For a new business to make it in Sparta now, it must be middle-class-centric. Working people have to drive to Virginia to buy gas for a quarter to 30c a gallon less (state taxes). The Sparta flow appears to be, businesses come and businesses go.

air bellows outdoor museum of art

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