Small-Town America, or It’s the Food That Matters

After reading my comments last week about Full Kee restaurant and the merits of small-time businesses vs. huge conglomerations, a friend wrote to kindly burst my bubble. Apparently Full Kee is actually a chain, though a small one (there are a few others in Northern Virginia), the service isn’t that good unless you’re a regular, and there are a few scandals involved in the management. My friend stuck up for Wal-Mart, which at least provides jobs for high schoolers and old people.

I admit to being deflated for a few hours. In case you hadn’t noticed, my opinions tend to be kind of high-flung and idealistic (and if you didn’t know that about me, my name is ESTA JARRETT and you’ve been reading the wrong site), and in my article I did set up Full Kee as the bastion of all that is good and noble against Wal-Mart as the source of all evil. But really, none of that matters to my basic point, which is that mega-stores like Wal-Mart are steamrolling over local economies and community identities without so much as a by-your-leave, and I don’t like it. The nature of small-town life is to permit everyone their share of joys and scandals, which is where the sense of community comes into play. People are flawed. Corporations don’t want to admit that. The result is a bland and soulless estimation of what the American people will buy and eat. Therefore, I stick by my original conclusion: support your local businesses, and the world will be a better place. Hooray!

Oh, before I forget, Angela told me to tell any white people who want to order kong shing tsai at Full Kee that the translation is “hollow heart vegetable”, so the poor waiters might be able to guess what you’re trying to say in your bad Chinese accent.

The Hill House

As Tim mentioned today, our parents moved into their new house on Tuesday. They’ve been building it for the past year in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, in one of the prettiest spots of all of God’s country. We’re very proud that they’ve survived the house-building process and are not only still speaking to each other, but have provided a spectacular place for us to come and wear out our welcome. Thanks, Mom and Dad!