By Judy Garrison
Believe me, I’m no expert in bargain-hunting. Nor super-thrifty for that matter. I’m the first to get pleasure from an occasional splurge, like treating my daughters and myself to dinner and the theater in NYC. And for something important I don’t think twice about a liberal outlay. But like most people I know, I receive special satisfaction when getting great value with minimal payout. A satisfaction somehow enhanced when the buy is local. We’ve all been witness to someone in town being complimented on the sweater they are wearing, and they exclaim with a glowing, rather self-satisfied, “Andes Thrift Shop!”
So let me tell you what’s made me happily smug: from the Fire Hall Thrift Shop: a vintage condition long navy cashmere overcoat (dry cleaning was the biggest expense) as well as the like-new lime-green Liz Claiborne capris I wore all summer; from the Humane Society’s shop a Florentine leather handbag and a gift-worthy pictorial encyclopedia of dogs.
And then there are the evenings when a craving hits for supper out, but the budget constricts. My choice on such a night might be the Hotel for one of their delicious hamburgers, with garlic spinach substituting for the fries, washed down with whatever’s on tap. The regular attendance at Woody’s on Wednesday evenings attests to its attraction on many levels; good grub (word of mouth praises the lemon chicken and shrimp scampi), large portions, low prices and conviviality.
The subject of food brings to mind the need to work off some of the effects of over-indulgence. I haven’t used the fitness room in the school bus garage anywhere near the extent that others have, but I intend to in 2009. This well-stocked and maintained facility-thanks to Phyllis Kochersberger, Jen Finkle and others-is open for public use from 3-9 pm when school is in session, and 7 am-3 pm during school breaks. It’s not open on weekends. It is free of charge to Andes residents adhering to the stated rules which include bringing dry shoes or sneakers to wear on the equipment.
And let’s not forget what we get for free from the Andes Public Library. Gloria Carlson and the other librarians make sure to order quality popular new books (and happily share recommendations based on their own and other patrons’ reading). I recently enjoyed Barbara Walters’ Audition: A Memoir. There is also a first-class collection of DVDs and audio books on hand. Thanks to its availability at the library John and I (are we the only adults in America not to have seen the series when it aired?) immersed ourselves over the last few days in a kind of delightful marathon viewing of the 6 DVD set of “The Winds of War”. Can’t return your book or magazine on time? Renew by phone or email and avoid a late charge. The library programs, including a monthly book group, are free of charge as well.
While we’re at it, let’s not forget to mention the weekly Andes Roundtable, which meets at 7 pm on Wednesdays at the Hunting Tavern Museum and asks only for a donation of $2 to defray heating and other costs. Part-time Andes residents and national luminaries Professor Stanley Fish and string theorist Brian Greene have given presentations here.
Want to exercise the body as well as the brain? In season the newly re-furbished tennis courts behind the school and the swimming pool are open to the public at no charge. Those interested in hiking might consider connecting with the Andes hiking group facilitated by Jack McShane (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I believe it goes without saying that there are all kinds of interesting, well-priced, rare and unusual articles to be found in the local shops, though some people may need a prod to explore what’s in their own back yard. (My visiting city cousin who’d looked long and hard for a CD rack was thrilled with her recent purchase from Alfalfa’s Antiques.) Not only can you find a selection of great choices for gifts and the home, but you have the satisfaction of helping your very local economy and saving the time and expense incurred with travel to distant malls.~