Town Grouch, Fears, and All You Can Eat Buffet

Enjoyed horse drawn sleigh rides on the farm!

I’m going to reveal something personal dear bloggowers – one of my deepest darkest fears. 

Given that I’m a writer you may think that it’s something like – fear of the blank page (not even close) or fear of something pedestrian like rejection (I wish it were that easy).

I spent Christmas with some lovely people on a farm (no, that’s not it).

In order to get to that farm I had to go through a small town (you got it!). I had a panic attack sitting in my car, in the dead of dusk, on a deserted main street across from the post office waiting to be picked up and led to the farm.

Yes, bloggowers, I have an inexplicable, unreasonable (and I forget about it until I’m in one) fear of small towns!

And the kicker is that it doesn’t even make it on the inexhaustible list of fears that includes such things as Arachibutyrophobia- fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth (I hate when that happens) and Aulophobia- fear of flutes (yeah, flutes freak me out!). 

I briefly had a fear of, and fascination with, bottomless pits which stemmed from watching the Flintstones as a child - seems Fred and Barney were always falling down one. 

By day two I was over my fear and wandered around the hamlet of Evansburg, Alberta. The town was deserted and maybe it was because they are a gouchy bunch.  

 Seems the town folk were too friendly, so they decided to declare one member the town grouch each year.  The winner is licensed to pester, harass, antagonize, criticize, complain and grumble without fear of reprisal for the whole next year.  Sounds like my kind of competition!

Here's, Evelyn, she threw her grouch frown into the ring as the candidate for 2011. 

Evelyn - she be grouchy! 

If you're town grouch you get to wear a groovy hat like this guy! 
Here's me doing the classic - taking a picture of yourself
while standing in front of the "Grouchiest of All' mirror.
 Further wandering around town led me here:
What does that even mean?!
All you can eat buffet - closing out sale!? So does that mean you can't leave until all the food is gone? Does it mean they aren't making any new food?  Eat in and take out - how do you take out an all you can eat buffet? So many questions ...

If you ever find yourself in the Evansburg/Wildwood/Alberta's Pembina River Provincial Park area - there's a great Bed & Breakfast & Bale (you can board your animals) called the Lone Pine Ranch. The proprietor Sylvia whips up a mean waffle and tells tales of recalcitrant Lamas (did you know you can buy a Lama for $20.00?!).   
One of the cottages at the Lone Pine Ranch
Do you have any fears that are inexplicable? Better yet, what about your characters. What do they fear and how do they overcome it to get what they want? 


Dawn Ius said…
I love this post because it brings back memories and also intrigues me...I desperately want to set a story in that town. LOL The memory is of my mom and I driving through gosh-knows-where Alberta, lost, without cell phones, in search of a road sign giving us SOME indication of direction. It wasn't until the fourth sign reading "Texas Gate - 1 km" that we clued in...Texas Gate isn't a town, it's a deterrent for cattle crossing. Duh! I love my iPhone and its GPS.
Jan Markley said…
That would be funny if you set a story in Evansburg. I have a childhood friend who lived there when she was a teenager and I took the bus out to visit her and it was the smallest town I'd ever been in. She now lives in a slightly bigger town. Wouldn't it be funny if there was a town called 'Texas Gate.' that would be a good place to set a story!
Casey McCormick said…
What a fun place! Small towns make me nervous. Glad you got over your fear and had fun exploring.

Happy New Year!
Jan Markley said…
Thanks Casey - I'm not sure what it is about small towns that freaks me out - maybe it's the lack of people and crowds.
That small town sounds great! It would be fun to be a grouch for a whole year!
Jan Markley said…
Yes, Lynda, a whole year of griping without fear of reprisal sounds sublime!
Ruthless said…
Hi Jan,
It's your childhood friend, Ruth, here. Great blog on Evansburg, but I am somewhat disappointed that you didn't mention ME. After all, it is all about ME, isn't it?? I have fond memories of you stepping off the Greyhound bus looking both horrified and perplexed as you wondered how there could be gravel roads and how one was supposed to walk on them! I recall that later we slid down a very muddy 'short cut' to my house. Good times.
Jan Markley said…
OMG Ruth! I tell those same memories to everyone I talk to about Evansburg (who will listen)! Those, and the thing about how someone could drive down main street backwards - I could have done that when I was there. I did mention you in the comments section. I'll have to find a way to weave you into another post since you don't live there anymore.