You Gotta Like Your Flavor
“You’ve gotta like your flavor!” Sitting on my back porch in a small town nestled in the middle of the Willamette Valley, my kids playing with the dog near the garden and my visiting parents sipping coronas on the couch, we hear a kid hollering these words as he rides his bike on the other side of the arbor vidae. The tall hedges create a sense of remoteness in the middle of our neighborhood and obscure the view of the speaker but the words ring true.
Our little town surrounded by farms and a straight highway heading north and south anywhere but exactly where we are is our slice of paradise. Not so for everyone, especially for people I’ve met that grew up here. The lack of something “happening” appeals to us as we approach 40 with two small kids and decades of travel behind us. So much so that we haven’t stopped going on about it to everyone we know and even each other. We think we’ve discovered this well-kept secret that is sure to get out any moment and bring droves of people in. The thing about Oregon though, is that there are hundreds of quaint towns that people feel the same way about. Our town, we have ownership here. We have a vested interest in maintaining it and keeping it the happy place we know now. To someone else and maybe even our kids one day it may seem like anything but paradise, but that’s the thing about finding your flavor and embracing it. It doesn’t matter if it suits someone else’s tastes, you’re the one that has to like it.
Today I had a rare occasion of driving away from home, alone, on my way to meet my husband at a mountain resort where he’s spent the week for a work conference. For the most part it’s soccer moms, farmers, and freight trucks running up and down our highway. But today, walking on the bike path that parallels the road, was a very feral and possibly homeless guy walking with partial dreads and no shirt and a goat on a rope. Just walking into town for some reason… to use the facilities, to find some shade, to graze his hairy companion? Just when I think it’s all boring and have no problem with that, something shocks me right back into not relying too heavily on my expectations.
I hope that guy finds a nice cool spot to rest on this record-breaking day of summer heat (107). I hope he finds some reprieve in our little slice of paradise. I hope, as a former governor of the state aptly put, he enjoys his time but doesn’t stay. And if he must stay, I hope I get to find out his story. His flavor is obviously quite different than mine. I hope he likes his too.