I drove into town in a vehicle purchased at St. Anthony motors-Not Free.
On tires purchased at Neil’s & Joe’s-Not Free.
Filled with garbage to be dropped off at the landfill-already paid for with tax fees and-Not Free.
On a road plowed by the County grader –already paid for from taxes and Not Free.
Stopped for the local school bus- actually paid for 5 times through taxes and levies and I still have to pay the entry fees to attend the games, concerts and all school alumni functions. Not Free.
I moved over for both the firetruck and ambulance – both paid for by my taxes-Not Free Services For anyone living outside of town. (Gee, I hope they aren’t going to my neighbor’s house while I’m away, we are all in the elderly category)
I stopped at the local bank for cash to pay for today’s list of bills and local purchases because nothing about a bank is Free.
I mailed some letters and Christmas packages to far away loved ones purchasing postage –you know that’s Never Free.
I had both eye exam and dental appointments scheduled for today and I always go to the local shops because they are part of my community. It didn’t take long and I paid cash and neither was Free.
Next was a stop at Fall’s Drug for follow-up medications as prescribed by the dentist for his procedures and to renew my yearly Fishing/Hunting Licenses. I need these to help keep fresh food on my families’ table and it’s nice to keep Matt’s Meats in business. Shopping locally is the right thing to do but it’s still Not Free.
I went to my insurance company to visit with an old school mate in person and pay in cash. Nothing that I need to have insured is Free, and the prices keep rising.
Then I drove all the way out to the Landfill to dump the garbage (paid for in cash by weight) because it’s not permitted in the trash bins I have to pay for as well. I pay 3 times for our garbage disposal. Not Free.
Coming back through town I stopped at Broulim’s for both my groceries and my neighbors list of food items. We shop locally because that’s what a good community does. Even though it’s Not Free.
While on this side of town I put a load of dirty clothing in the laundromat (it’s not very expensive, but it’s Not Free either) to get cleaned because my own washing machine at home is broken and while it’s washing I made a quick visit to the local library to exchange books and use their computer to check my emails from my family who moved far away. I can’t afford the internet and a computer and have already paid for the library use through my taxes. So I’m not using any of it for Free.
I paid my utility bill to the city office (150%) and that’s just the ‘normal rate’ for people who live outside of the city limits and live in houses that already had hook ups before any of us moved it. We didn’t even want city hookups (The water smells and tastes horrible and ruins plants and makes animals sick) and aren’t allowed to look for an alternative livable source. Not Free and getting more expensive.
After getting my wet clothing. (I’ll dry them on my clothes line at home- That’s Free) I went across town to C&C Supply to get hardware to try and fix my washing machine. Tools and hardware are Not Free.
Then I went to Trost’s Feed and Supplies to get feed for my livestock and chickens and visit with my good friends who still own and run that place. Friends or not, their product is Not Free.
Next I travelled out to Wilmore Lumber to settle my bill for the firewood I bought from them to heat my house over the winter months. Even dead trees are Not Free.
I drove back through town at looked at the City Park all covered in snow and reminded myself to find out when the Fisherman’s Breakfast is this year so I can make sure and schedule time off work to volunteer to help set up, run and clean up like I’ve been doing for years. It’s Free to everyone from all over the nation and the world, but even the Free breakfast is not Free for me.
Well, all my errands for this day were complete, so I pulled in to fuel up at Dusty’s. I have to use that fancy fuel to help my car last longer. You know that’s Not Free. I bought it pre-owned at St. Anthony Motors. It’s not new, but it was to keep my money within this community…
...because being born and raised in this Fremont county/St. Anthony community, there’s a down home understanding that we take care of our own people. We go to schools, shopping and churches together, we fish and hunt and ride and eat together. Our kids play sports together. We attend funerals together. We support and help our friends, family and neighbors who build their businesses here. We are the concerned community citizens who try to keep our business local. Some of us step outside of the city limits to pursue more agricultural endeavors to create a better bartering system for the community. We pursue hobbies, privacy, farming, ranching, have a little more freedom to choose what to do with our little pieces of land, not to bother neighbors but to pursue happiness.
And then during one meeting on December 4th it got pretty perplexing when an outsider, who doesn’t live in or shop in or even pay taxes in our community, spoke up to talk about those of us who live in the county saying “these people bought property with city hookups because they wanted to be annexed into the city” and then “it’s troubling to have these people using the streets, sidewalks, parks, city activities and city amenities and utilities for free.”
DaeNell Douglas is a resident of Fremont County and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org