Sunday, April 17, 2011
One of the things I find endearing about small towns is how long the collective memory lasts. There's a crumbling corner in our town referred to as "the Esso." Years ago it was an Esso gas station but the gas station closed, though an auto service shop continued for some years in an adjacent building, eventually dwindling to hobby status for the owner and closing entirely more years ago than I can recall. The buildings have since housed a succession of failed businesses including a video rental place, convenience store, pizza joint, bakery and warehouse space for an African import business. But although it hasn't been an Esso in more than 20 years, maybe closer to 30, people around here still call this The Esso.
I think of it as a decoy that keeps the tourists from moving in wholesale. It's ugly as anything, and it graces the intersection of Main Street and the highway through town. I suspect a lot of people miss giving our town a second glance as a result of driving by this empty lot.