The last three weeks have been just about the best. There have been a few hiccups, but spending this time with my wife, my daughter and my newborn son have been precious. Last night I was trying to get my dinner started, Cheryl was asleep, and Adam started to cry. Beth came up to me and said, “Dad, let me hold Adam while you get your dinner, I’ll make him feel better.” I was touched. “Beth, you are a really cool sister,” I said. She replied, “yeah, I know.” Who knew she was so modest?

One of the hiccups came this afternoon. One of the small businesses I frequent had a sign up in the lobby today, they will be closing up shop for the last time on November 13.

One of the things we lose by living in a large community is a close sense of community. Many of the businesses we frequent are big and impersonal. The prices are kept down by low wages and bulk purchasing, but the cost is personal relationships. In contrast, the same guy has cut my hair since we moved back from Florida’s vacation capital in early 1995. That’s not a really long time, but it’s long enough to take it for granted.

What exactly am I taking for granted?

I’m losing a connection to the community. I’m losing one of those places that make running errands a pleasant experience. I’m losing one of those places where we feel safe enough to peel off our impervious suburban cocoon of isolation. I’m losing one of those places where you linger, not because you have more business to tend to, but because you enjoy the company of the people there. How often do you feel that way walking out of Wal-Mart?

Then again, maybe I’m just down because I have to go back to work on Monday.