Amidst the Sturm-und-Drang of life in our dinky little town, we suffer from what most forgotten towns suffer from.
We have nothing going for us.
Uxbridge has no work or hope of meaningful employment. There are no malls with big stores that hire people for living wages. No budget, sidewalks (except mid-town, which is one street (Main Street, of course). There are no streetlights, though we do have one traffic light. No public transportation. Not buses, trains, or trolleys or even a taxi. Someone said there’s an Uber driver somewhere, but I’ve never seen him or her.
There is no bookstore (we had one, but it went out of business). No greenhouses or nurseries. No places to buy clothing unless you count the Salvation Army (often the most fashionable offerings in the area). No quaint coffee shops (but lots of donuts).
We have some restaurants serving among the worst food you can imagine. We’ve got one really good (and ridiculously expensive) sushi joint we can no longer afford. We used to go there when it opened and prices were normal, but people discovered it and up went the prices — and they opened two more restaurants in other towns, too. There is one other Asian eating place — just over the Rhode Island border — which has sushi as well as pretty good and almost affordable Thai and Vietnamese food. It’s only a mile and a bit from home, so when we go out — rarely — that’s where we go.
Otherwise, the ‘American’ restaurants think garlic and black pepper are too spicy. It’s all brown gravy and white bread bland. We have a couple of Chinese restaurants that change owners regularly. New chefs start off with decent food, discover no one EATS decent food and promptly delete all spices from all foods.
I love Chinese food and fortunately, I know how to cook it, else I would be forced to drive fifty miles to someplace that recognizes the difference between Hunan, Mandarin, and Cantonese, et al.
Our other local “restaurants” are pretty good at making burgers, fries, and serving cold beer. Mostly, beer.
Three years ago, Massachusetts passed a bill allowing pot shops in the state. They have been wrangling over taxes and shmaxes and what about stoned drivers and is it moral? Meanwhile, the citizens have been getting downright irritable that we still didn’t have any way to buy any.
Between the “medical marijuana” bill we passed, we seem to have also said, “Aw, nuts, bring on the ‘just for fun’ dope, too.” We all own more land than we need around here. Mostly, the soil is too stony and rooty to grow normal crops. It’s truck farming. Cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries in June, and squash forever … and a few places grow corn … and of course, dairy cows.
Plus lots and lots of apples. Orchards everywhere. We really do grow amazingly good apples and anything we don’t eat, the horses are happy to finish off for us. Did I mention horses? We grow big horses. Clydesdale and Percherons, each horse the size of a 10-ton truck, but gentle as a kitten. Just don’t step on my paw, please.
About three months ago, finally we opened our first two pot shops. one somewhere in a sleazy part of Boston and someplace not far from the crossing into Cape Cod — near Plymouth I think, but I could be wrong.
During the first two months, these two TINY little shops brought in more than 2-1/2 million dollars — each.
Suddenly, all the people who doubted pot was something we ought to have here in Massachusetts began to sing folk songs, buy bongs, and whistle a happy tune because — hey, that’s REAL MONEY. No kidding. Money in huge quantities. The only reason there wasn’t more money coming in was the shops kept running out of dope.
No problem. Spring is coming.
Anyone with a piece of empty land is going into the hemp-growing business — or renting their land to someone who’ll do the growing and pay them to use the property.
Last night, on the local news, they announced the next two locations for the new pot shops. One will be in Pittsfield, the town in the Berkshires where no one wants to live, and … are you ready? Really ready?
No shit. There it was. On the map on the big television. Dead center of south-central Massachusetts and hyper-convenient to our neighboring border states of Connecticut and Rhode Island — where they don’t (yet) have “enjoy the munchies” dope.
I’m sure everyone was sitting and looking at the screen and saying “Where the hell is Uxbridge?” Nobody knows where we live. No one ever bothers to visit us because “Where the hell is Uxbridge?”
Well. Now we are someplace. You will come here to buy marijuana.
We’ll have a permanent traffic jam in front of Hannaford’s and every doughnut shop will be overrun by stoned people looking for stuff to eat. Dear lord! There will be no parking because who needed parking?
Our one lane, each direction Main Street will be full of expensive cars and stoned people who have hiked in from Boston and the Cape. We are actually only an hour and a bit from Cape Cod, but no one knows that … yet. Soon, they will know.
They will build coffee shops and bake pies. Someone will open a bakery. Stores will sell widgets no one needs that cost too much money. Maybe the price of our house will finally rise in value. Is it possible our taxes will drop?
Nah. Taxes never drop.
But more people might move in. We might get a trolley or a bus or a train stop. It could happen. And they could fix the sidewalks and put in some streetlights!
I’m dreaming of a stoned Christmas, unlike any I’ve ever known.
There was a time in my life when I dreamed of legal pot and at least I’ve lived to see that happen. And who’d have thought in UXBRIDGE?
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” She chortled in her joy.
Talk about ritzy.