We’re only kidding, because in actual fact there are quite a few cows around here, and plenty of chickens! But it’s an Italian way of defining a small town, which could probably apply to Bedonia. So ok, we don’t have huge shopping centres, we don’t have bowling halls or skating rinks. We don’t have multivision cinemas, theatres and a number of other facilities we could mention, but in our pretty little corner of the world, we probably have much more than all this – we have human contact….no, let’s make that humane contact.
You can have human contact just about anywhere, unless you go live up a tree, but how much do city people really interact? How much do they get to know each other – even their own neighbours? How many friends can they really count on, in a life where they resemble numbers rather than individuals? All very sad in our opinion.
Bedonia is different. Everyone knows practically everyone else, and when you walk into town, you can be sure to meet more than a few friends to chat with, catch up on the latest news – how’s mum….saw your grandson yesterday…..coming for a coffee….long time no see….etc. It’s good to see smiling faces and folk saying hello as you go about your business, it gives you an identity as a person, and rewards you with a nice warm feeling of belonging. Shopkeepers treat you like family, and service is on a personal level; none of that grabbing a shopping cart and your purchases in a cold unwelcoming atmosphere, queuing for ages at the cash desk till your beard starts growing……there is actually a family-run supermarket in Bedonia, but it’s like going to a friend’s house when you walk in – the cheery good mornings and smiles from the cashier, and from the boss as he scoots around the shop singing “Jingle bells everyone!” (yes – even in summer!). And of course, unless you spent half an hour yapping to the friend you just met in there – because of course you did, the whole operation is rapid and effortless!
In many smaller shops we still have an old-fashioned over-the-counter service, where owners will always take the time to exchange a few words with customers, as well as trying to meet their needs. It’s nice, in these times of impersonal service, to have someone doing their best to find you the right pair of trousers for your figure, that same bread you bought last week but don’t remember which, minced meat with just the right amount of seasoning (the butcher already knows how you like it), the most appropriate toy for a little boy’s birthday party (the shopkeeper may even know what the little boy wants because his mum is her friend or her sister-in-law)…..and all with a chat and a smile. And should you carelessly forget your purse at home, or discover that you do not have a sufficient amount of money on you to make the purchase…….not a problem, you take home your wares, and pop back in to pay your debt the next time you are in town, no rush. That kind of trust can only happen in a place like Bedonia, since it’s unlikely you’ll take off for Australia any time soon, and they know it!
Of course, there are pros and cons in any situation, and the most obvious drawback in this case is – everyone knows everyone! But didn’t we just say that that was an advantage?! Well yes, but it’s inevitable; when townsfolk live in such a close-knit community, when families are intertwined, and have been for generations, when locals are to be found in every nook and cranny of the place, people do tend to resort to their favourite pastime – GOSSIP! On each corner, in each café, in the town square, there will always be at least a couple of old cronies discussing someone else’s private (at least they thought so!) affairs!!
It’s all par for the course, if you don’t want people to gossip about you, just keep out of mischief….not that it makes a lot of difference!! At the end of the day though, we native and adopted Bedonians look around and see our beautiful mountains embracing us, and know we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.