Oct 302009

Coming to Creswell – Part 3 (Finally Oregonian)

OK, first things first.  I need to come clean and apologize.  I heard from several people about a mistake in my previous article.

When we arrived here in October, Creswell had more like 4,000 people, not the meager 2,400 or so I referenced.  I can’t tell you where the 4,000 people were hiding.  I only saw about 12 of them on my initial jaunt through town.  I guess I need to slow down while driving into town so I can read the signs better.  The latest sign shows 4,500.  The sign may change again soon as lots of cool houses are being built in Creswell on both sides of the freeway.  Creswell is growing for sure.

Now that I have that off my chest I can continue with our saga in good conscience.

Our first eight months in Creswell have been wonderful.  What the town lacks in size the people add in heart.  I was over at Bill Spencer’s 76 Station the other day and I noticed their T-shirts that say “Creswell – The friendly town” (or words to that effect).  My wife and I read the shirt as the attendant walked away. We nodded to each other.  This is easily the friendliest place we’ve ever been.  For the first few weeks we were here I thought there was a town ordinance that mandated smiling and waving with some stiff penalty to be met with on failure to comply.  Everyone has been great.  We came with fears of being shunned for being from California (although remember I’m an Oregonian by birth) and instead we’ve been treated like we’ve always been here.  The move to Creswell has added joy to our lives.

Life in our small town has been interesting for us at times.  Our house is just far enough out that we can’t really walk into town (unless we make a day of it).  So, we pretty much have to drive everywhere.  It’s only four minutes so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.

You really have to pay attention going through town as the speed limit changes, what seems like, every few feet.  We want to be good citizens and my wife has made it her duty to remind me when I forget.  We can’t really figure out what the speed limit is on our street (Camas Swale Rd.) past the middle school.  Going out of town you have to creep along at 20 mph past the school and you can’t miss that with lights flashing and all.  I know this is slow because middle school kids walking on the sidewalk typically laugh as they pass us up.  Then, in a breath of relief you are suddenly allowed to go 25 mph just a block later; then 40 and the fun starts.  One block later there is a sign that says “End 40 MPH”.  There is no mention of the next speed limit.  So, being from California, we surmised we can just go as fast as we want.  OK, I know the default is 55, but it’s was fun to say surmise.

I also have a difficult time with the stop signs.  They always seem to be in different places going one way through town as opposed to the other.  The name of the main street often changes too which confuses the computerized mapping programs.  When people try to get to our house the “computer” always directs them to stop about a quarter of a mile early.  I wonder if Andy in Mayberry had this kind of trouble.

In California you can buy liquor just about anywhere;  Safeway, 7-11, the local high school fund raiser.  In Oregon you buy liquor at designated stores. In Creswell you buy liquor only at what could be mistaken as part of the auto supply.  I initially found this odd since we were always taught not to drink and drive.

We were told by someone in town to get a PO Box.  This sounded fun so we stopped in at the Post Office to find out about it.  We asked how much it would cost and the nice lady behind the counter replied, “It won’t matter”.  My first thought was, “Great, they are all out of them”, but it turned out to be around $20 a year so, indeed, it didn’t matter… much.  $20 is $20 after all.  So far our PO Box has been a repository for all kinds of useless forwarded junk mail from California, but hope springs eternal so we continue to stop and check it whenever we drive by.

For a small town Creswell has a lot going for it.  We have doctors of all sorts, several good restaurants, insurance agents, accountants, a great hardware store that I frequent almost daily, a major grocery store and a recently opened Bi-Mart (if you can figure out to get through the ever changing freeway overpass), two gas stations, lots of car fix it up places, a brand new ice cream shop, a pet store, two vets, several coffee kiosks, and just about everything else you could imagine.

Creswell has more of those “store your stuff here” places than I’ve ever seen before.

Creswell has two identical convenience stores right across the street from each other for people who just don’t want to brave crossing the street for milk or Twinkies.  Actually I think the second Dari Mart is for people who accidentally turn the corner towards Cottage Grove when they forget to change lanes to go straight down the main street.  I’ve ended up on the way to Cottage Grove a couple of times so I can relate.  Having the second Dari Mart there helps us protect our pride.  We can simply turn into the parking lot, buy some milk, and then turn back out the way we intended to go in the first place with that “I meant to do that” look on our faces.  No harm, no foul.  The Creswell city planners have thought of everything.

Creswell has two barber shops, that I could find, both of which seem to be open when the spirit moves.  I’ve learned to just stop for a haircut when I see an open sign.

Creswell has a restaurant called “Mom’s Snak Shack” that I learned is owned by a man.

I’ve never been in it, but Creswell has a store that looks like it sells wedding dresses and piñatas.  If given the choice I suggest you go to your wedding dressed in the dress rather than as a piñata.  I’ve seen what happens to piñatas at weddings.

Creswell’s donut store makes the best donuts I’ve ever had; and I’ve been around.  The donut store is not open on Sundays.  I guess all the churches stock up on Saturday and just don’t mention the fact that the donuts are day old before Sunday arrives.

For a small town, Creswell has a ton of character.  We are looking forward to years of watching her grow and growing with her.  We’ve been told that the 4th of July is a real treat and we’re waiting anxiously for that day to arrive.  It’s great to finally be here.  All of the experiences from the past few months seem like they happened years ago.  Today, Creswell feels like home.

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