it’s a small town after all.


my friend

who spends days working in our busy capitol city of lansing

comes home at night to the quiet little town of owosso

 – its polar opposite.

in fact, it’s the home of the polar express

which wakes up the entire town with its early hour whistle blow

 each and every morning from thanksgiving on through the holidays

but there is so much more here

with all the charm and quirks that only a small town embraces


the castle built by a local eccentric from the past overlooking the river


a tea room complete with hats and boas to wear

a trading post with gold, tools, guitar and guns

and best of all

the local five and dime store

complete with

an accordion on a bench waiting to be played

brach’s candy counter

wall of embroidery floss

balsa wood pieces of all sizes

suet cakes


50 cent bags of popcorn


my favorite feature of all

the special of the week – napkin sale

which far surpassed all expectations

this was my lucky day for so many reasons.

“every week in a small town is very different. something is going on.”

– emily rose

45 responses »

  1. I lived in Glasgow for three years, and couldn’t tell you the names of any neighbors. I lived in a tiny town on the Scottish Isle of Arran for about four hours, and all three neighbors were demanding we join them for dinner. Last night, we got home late and our neighbors came over to tell us they’d spent hours building a dam against the flash floods that were sweeping against our house, channelling the water away from our (new!) floors and down the hill. Even their tiny 3-year-old grandchild was out there helping.

    Small towns. Hell, yeah!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a very unique and fun town! Isn’t it cool we have an arts castle in our town? This one is an amazing one in Owossa!
    Our five and dime is now a huge antique shop. We have three antique shops downtown. I like the whistle to let the kids know getting closer to Christmas. You are fulriends with the author of Polar Express?? Wow! 🐧🚅📘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a cool town you visited and to have the Polar Express what a great find. Small towns have so many special secrets, treasures and cool feelings about them. My home town was like that when I was growing up but now it is bigger but still now has big has Dallas but big enough. You found a treasure which was very cool indeed. Thanks Beth hope you have a great weekend. XOXOXO

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We lived in a small town where the homecoming parade came down Main Street, there was a 2 hour parade at Halloween with prizes for the best costumes, and where Santa traveled each street on a fire truck the week before Christmas so he would know where every child lived. It seemed like a throwback to the 50s. Thanks for introduction to another treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Actually (not being a native, but learning about MI via daughter and son-in-law who are also not natives, but love it in MI) Lansing ain’t so bad, either…lots of community gardens that are truly feeding their communities etc…and maybe that’s what makes a place great, not the just size but the sense of community.
    I loved learning about the true ‘Polar Express’ town and would love to explore that five and dime – maybe pick up some paper napkins! HA!


  6. Oh, now, the Polar Express … back in the late 80s I worked in a bookstore in a failing mall in central New Jersey. The home office thought that the Polar Express book was just the must-have of the Christmas or, possibly, every season. So they shipped us somewhere upwards of 400,000 copies a week from October through the Feast of the Epiphany.

    It was not in demand. It was the least-demanded thing in the bookstore, and I include the hefty, overpriced guides to obsolete versions of WordPerfect in that list. The thing never moved. And yet the home office could not be convinced that they had overestimated demand for the book by infinity percent.

    So the back room — which was not large, since this was the 80s, before the megastore bookstore got to be a thing — had its slight space eaten up by cubic yards of a book we could not do anything with.

    And yet, in the year and a half I was there, it did sell … once … one copy. In August, of course. When the sales clerk noticed that most phenomenal of rarities, a customer who gave the slightest about this book, she went around and told everyone else working. So we gathered around, trying to to scare her off, as she actually picked up and walked to the front of the shelves with this book. And then, even more incredibly, bought the one copy any of us ever saw leave the store honorably.

    No idea why the book was so anti-popular there, but that’s imprinted on me. And even though I’ve lived in Michigan a half-decade now and am aware there are people who care about the book and even like it, I still can’t see it as anything other than this heap of lead that would eventually cause that bookstore’s mall to sink into the Earth’s crust.

    Liked by 1 person

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