Rural America is shrinking and those who hang on are living with less. Book, appliance and new clothing stores have disappeared from small towns. Many surviving storefronts are now secondhand or thrift shops..."yard sales with a business license". Big box retail is usually within an hours' drive and country folk are still able to afford a weekly supply run to one of the Chinese product- filled, characterless shells, to stock up on toilet paper, hamburger helper and cheese puffs.
When gas prices creep up beyond six bucks a gallon I believe the surviving country families will finally co-op on these shopping trips and distribute goods out of their homes. It's a brave new world, alright, and the one good thing about these circumstances is that we are getting to know our neighbors much more intimately than we ever imagined we would. Are these just tough times or is this the way it's going to be from now on?