Life Notes: Sisters Share Unbreakable Bond
by Erin Rockett, LPC, LMFT

Recently I visited the Mississippi gulf coast, a frequent family retreat during my childhood. Taking a leisurely route, I traveled south from Jackson on U.S. Highway 49, soaking in passing vistas of rolling hills, grassy farmland, and small towns. One rather sprawling, gray-weathered cypress barn type structure stood apart from the landscape as cars cruised past. A large white sign displayed the business name, “The Watermelon Patch”, and also declared “Peach Cobbler for Sale”. I made mental note to stop by the place on the return trip.

Upon returning, I spotted the produce stand and pulled into the gravel parking lot. The building’s rough-hewn cypress siding appeared to have witnessed rather hard times. One side lot was filled with terra cotta and iron statuary. A white canvas banner proclaiming “Shoes for Sale” flapped in the breeze.

Shoes for sale … shoes for sale??? At a country produce stand? There was no logical reason for produce stands to peddle shoes, I thought to myself. Then I noticed the parking lot, filled to capacity while vehicles circled, or pulled into adjacent grassy fields. Customers streamed in and out under a display listing the store’s wares of souvenirs, desserts, produce, cold drinks, and shoes. Departing customers carried two and three shoeboxes, along with takeout peach cobbler and sodas. Apparently business boomed, although not until recently. Extreme weather, increased production costs, and tourism decline due to fuel price increases threatened business survival. Had the owners not pursued creative, seemingly nonsensical business strategies, business may have perished.

How often in life do we muddle along, stuck in seemingly unchangeable circumstances, only to find ourselves attempting “more of the same” solutions? Therapists often state that creativity and “thinking outside the box” are keys to creating workable solutions for life challenges. And in one rural Mississippi produce stand, business owners preserved individual livelihood and local economy by venturing “outside the box”, literally.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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