We lived in a little town 25 miles south of Great Falls until I was 12. (Hello to my Cascade peeps!) We usually went to Great Falls on Sundays for church and occasionally got to go to a store for something special. We sure didn't shop much then, it was a treat! I think I shopped more today than my mom could have in a whole year back then. My rugrats turn two in a few days. Double trouble and double the fun. Getting a few special birthday gifts for each boy added up to traipsing all over town this afternoon.
It occurred to me today, while I was at K-Mart staring at the little horsey merry-go-round that is STILL in front of that store 30 years later, that Great Falls has barely changed at all since I was a child. There's a few new places. Wal-Mart and Sam's Club have moved in of course. There is also a "new" shopping center on the south side where there used to be a huge horse pasture. Old Navy, Furniture Row, Home Depot and the like. But for the most part Great Falls looks exactly like it always has. The little shopping mall has barely changed at all. No major remodel, no huge additions. The same businesses, many of them locally owned and operated, still grace 10th Ave South. Each trip to town is a day of deja vu for me.
When I was living in Seattle, things would change so rapidly it was sometimes hard to remember what street you were on! Always a new subdivided neighborhood appearing on a hill or a new mini mart on the corner. A business you liked to frequent would be there one week and gone the next. Grocery stores were constantly remodeling in order to stay "new and fresh". It was a frantically growing, buzzing place.
Now I'm home. Where everything is the same as it always has been. I can count on the city of Great Falls to economically trudge along. Like the tortoise. Quietly and dependably providing the services needed by us out-of-towners, farmers and ranchers. After living literally all over the United States and experiencing more change than many people do in a lifetime, I'm so glad that the more things change, the more they stay the same....
'Til next time,