Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spinsters, Small Towns, and Friends

By Valetta Nibley
From ‘A Deadly Grind’ – Book 1 of Victoria Hamilton’s 'Vintage Kitchen Mystery' series.

My name is Valetta Nibley, and I am a spinster. I know the term ‘spinster’ is old-fashioned, but I kind of like it. I am also the pharmacist and catalog clerk at the Queensville Emporium in Queensville, Michigan, a pretty little town on the St. Clair River. The thing about being a spinster in a small town is, everyone thinks they know exactly what you do, think, want, feel. They assume I long to be married… not! They figure I love cats… mmm, not so much. They think I’m nosy… weeeell, okay; one out of three I’ll give you.

If you only knew what I know about the people of Queensville… however, I am a pharmacist, and I can keep quiet. How long would I hold onto my job if I told everyone who gets their ED drugs from a certain mail order drug dispenser, or who blasted through their month’s supply of Oxycontin in a week? I may be nosy, and I may gossip, but I don’t tell half – or even a quarter – what I know about the townsfolk of Queensville.

But anyway, I have a lot of acquaintances, and a lot of folks who think they are my friend, but the real deal, a really good friend, is harder to find. What I like about Jaymie Leighton, my old friend Rebecca ‘Becca’ Leighton Burke’s younger sister, is that she just lets me be me, and I return the favor. She’s a good kid. Kid… hah! She keeps telling me that she’s thirty-two, no child. However I am forty…. er… forty-something (no one needs to know the exact age, right?) and I can call her a kid if I want.

We’re both collectors, but she is stuck on vintage kitchen stuff. You know the kind of junk: old bowls, utensils, dishes. She has a hankering after one of those old Hoosier cabinets you see in vintage shops, but they’re not easy to come by at a decent price. I have a feeling that the majority of the stuff I find for her at garage sales and flea markets isn’t old enough for her, and I know she passes most of it on, but she’s never rude about it. I just love ‘stuff’; I collect old toys, dolls, china figurines, furniture, and kitchen stuff from the seventies. I like to rotate all the junk in my cottagey little house, though, so I also get rid of a lot.

But back to Jaymie Leighton; let me tell you a little about Jaymie. She is a more interesting character than many people realize. She’s lived in Queensville her whole life, and yet she seems clueless that people are watching her and talking about her. Just before Christmas last year Joel Anderson (aka ‘the skunk’) ditched her for skinny, blonde, blue-eyed, wealthy bimbo Heidi Lockland, and Jaymie was crushed. She really believed Joel would eventually ask her to marry him, but he never had that in mind. As a long-term spinster I can spot a fellow who’s hooked, and he wasn’t, not on Jaymie anyway. Jerk. He’s a pharmaceutical sales rep, definitely looking for a way into money, and Heidi Lockland is old money, the best kind.

So now Jaymie moons around town worrying Becca to death. It’s a good thing Becca lives in Canada and only gets down every few weeks, because from what I’ve seen, Jaymie is not even trying to get over Joel. She walks her little three-legged dog Hoppy past Heidi’s house, hoping against hope to ‘accidentally on purpose’ run into Joel. Girl needs to buck up!

I think she will eventually move on, she just needs something to distract her, something dramatic! Unfortunately, nothing much happens in this small town. Now, did I just jinx Queensville to a run of bad luck? I hope not; I love this town. Quiet is good, right?

Anywho, how do you feel about small towns… do you like them? Loathe them? Prefer the big city? Do you think people are snoopier in small towns??? I’m nosy by nature, so tell me!


  1. In big cities, you can people-watch and it's very entertaining. In small towns, people-watching can be more intense and you tend to learn lots more. But it's *not* snooping, natch, it's just being . . . interested. Right, Valetta? Can't wait to read more about Queensville!

  2. Thank you, Janet... from now on, I won't say I'm nosy, I'll say I'm *interested*! And I don't snoop, I *people-watch*!

  3. I like the homey, cozy feel of a small town. Sure, people know what you're up to. But they care! I also like medium-sized cities because you often can get a small town feel but have a lot of the amenities of big cities.
    I think it's easier to cope with a lost love when you live in a bigger place, though. Looking forward to reading more about you & Jayme!

  4. I never thought of that, Erika... that it's harder to get over someone in a small town. Jaymie needs a distraction!

  5. Valetta, people are, uh, *interested* everywhere! I like the homey feel of small towns, too.

    ~ Krista

  6. I live in a small town and don't know any different. But sometimes it does have it's disadvantages.

  7. Krista... I suppose that's true, that folks are *interested* everywhere... especially in Queensville, though!

    Erin... I've only ever lived in Queensville, so I hear you!

  8. Valetta, I enjoy a small town. I especially like to visit shops in small towns. There are always so many interesting arty things to see. New foods to taste. But in a small town, everyone seems to know everybody else's business.


  9. I also love a small town. Something so charming about them!

  10. Avery, the closest thing we have to 'arty' in Queensville is Jewel, who makes stuff out of junk. Jaymie says it's art, and the tourists seem to like it, but to me it still looks like , well, junk. Her shop name is 'Jewel's Junk'.

    Heather, charming is as charming does, I think. Some of Queensville is charming, and some is just odd.

  11. I am originally from the city. A few (7) years ago I moved to a small town with a lot of trees. I love the small town and could not imagine being anywhere else. I dread going back to the big city. Although I am a big interested people watcher, I still don't know to much about my community.