UXBRIDGE ON THE RITZ! – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Ritzy

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.

On the street where we live.

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).

It’s a mosaic because we don’t have any murals. But it’s an old one and it’s all about shearing and marketing wool.

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.

Take a walk along the river

Our other local “restaurants” are pretty good at making burgers, fries, and serving cold beer. Mostly, beer.

The little white house with the big red tree

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.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

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.

The Canal and river

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?

UXBRIDGE.

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.

UXBRIDGE.

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!

Uxbridge Commons

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.

RITZY has come to UXBRIDGE!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

31 thoughts on “UXBRIDGE ON THE RITZ! – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Well who’d’ve thought it. Now I’m envisioning a similar establishment in Much Wenlock, and a rush on all the vacant allotment plots. Long time to wait for that I should think. Our establishment is very anti-pot, however it comes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I think once they build the shop, we’ll be overrun. That’s what happened in the other two towns. They keep choosing these out of the way places on the theory that there’s plenty of room. And there is. But there are NOT plenty of roads or parking spaces. We are a little town and we have very small roads and zero parking.

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    2. There were complaints about large crowds around one of the existing pot shots. A resident claimed it threatened their “quality of life’. Turns out most of those in the crowd were curious locals who wanted a glimpse of the pot purchasers.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Our forests are a bit dark, but now they just grow it everywhere. Not HERE, because we are all roots and rocks — no soil — but other places. And you don’t even have to grow it. Someone else just rents your field. Free money.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds good. Doughnuts. Burgers and beer. Pot. What more can you ask for? Hopefully the stoned people will want to eat good Chinese and then you are all set!

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    1. And hopefully someone thinks about parking and roads, too, or it is going to be a mess getting in and out of town, We are a one road Main Street town. If you add a lot more cars, it’s gonna get ugly. But one decent Chinese restaurant might make it worthwhile!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My sincere, SINCERE condolences. I mean the money and growth will be great, the people ‘knowing where you ARE’ not so much, the increase in prices, taxes, PEOPLE, cars, traffic jams, pollution and all that attends more people coming into an area – not great at ALL. My opinion. I miss ‘small town America’ and *bang* another one bit the dust in Uxbridge becoming ‘pot central’. I don’t live there (obviously) but I’ll mourn the passing of another small town all the same. I live in one in Utah, where the dreaded ‘mother nature’s green’ will NEVER EVER be legalized…Utahans shiftly cross the border into Colorado or Idaho for their medical needs in that arena, just like they do to buy fireworks and lottery tickets. Your town looks beautiful as is, from your pictures, would have been a place I’d have been proud to call home when I was younger and could envision moving elsewhere. And for your sake, I’m very glad. Hopefully the economic boom will benefit those in need.

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  4. I was born in Monson MA where the only place that has survived unchanged over the years is the local bar! There’s a breakfast cafe now – across the street from the area’s oldest cemetery and next to the only gas station in town. They serve a New England version of Huevos Rancheros that’s about as spicy as oatmeal.

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    1. Both, I think. It’ll make it really easy and relatively cheap to get stuff because the free-lancers are dropping prices like mad, but we’re also going to have a permanent traffic jam in town and nowhere to park. I shudder at the idea of meters.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm … that’s going to make life, interesting 😀 … hopefully the money will stay in town, and once the initial rush wears off, things will settle a bit.

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    1. And they will open more shops and eventually, there will be enough and none will be mobbed presumably. Meanwhile, though, it’s gonna be interesting. They’ll probably steal all the money. The government always steals the money.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pot is now legal in California, but it’s up to individual cities to regulate its sale. There are all sorts of controversies connected with that regulation task. It’s legal in the State, but not Federally. There is no way to enforce DUI rules since there’s no good test for the influence. There’s always the NIMBY faction. After more than a year, there are still only a very few pot shops! It will be interesting to see how they do!

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  7. I read your posts the wrong way round today Marilyn as I’ve been offline all day moving back home. I had some questions about why and how it would work but I think you have more or less answered them here.

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  8. And people think towns like Uxbridge only exist in “fly over” country. There are one-horse towns all over America. I’m from Maine, let me tell you about washed up towns.
    It may be too rural for your liking but don’t be too eager to see your apple orchards and cow pastures sprout condos. Who the hell needs that?
    Let the cities built condo developments on land that’s been chewed up all ready. Maybe some of that vacant mall property?
    I know people who are excited by legal pot. I think I’m past all of that.

    Liked by 1 person

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