Going International in The 863 by Jamie Beckett

Going International in The 863
An Editorial by Jamie Beckett

From here in the backwoods of the 863 we are often portrayed as being maybe a little less than worldly, perhaps a little backward, and possibly a bit slow. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. We are a very forward thinking group. In fact, you could describe us as a very cosmopolitan population. After all, it’s been our habit for many years to take influences from all over the world and incorporate them into our daily lives. We’re modern. We’re hip. We’ve been to the grocery store.

Yes, the grocery store. Whether you’re a Publix shopper, a Winn Dixie fan, a Piggly Wiggly die-hard, or frequent one of the wonderful mom and pop independents, the grocery store may be the most internationally relevant place in town.

It’s true. Where else, besides the good old corner grocery store, can you find people and products from all over the world? You can just walk in and pick up a the finest products of a foreign country any old time you want – preferably during normal operating hours, of course. Sure, you can pick up those same items in the wee hours of the morning if you want, but getting into the store is a lot harder after hours, and you may have to delay your trip home again while you explain to a very curious police officer why you were wandering the aisles with a flashlight and a burlap sack in the middle of the night.

Sure, we may talk slow, fish often, drive jacked-up pickup trucks, and know how to shimmy into a tree stand before the sun comes up – but we’ve got international flavor like nobody’s business.

In these parts more than a few of us keep a banana tree or two in the yard. Those are mostly for decoration, though. When we’re looking to stock up on the world’s best-selling fruit, we head to the store where we find an almost limitless supply. They come to us from Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. So get your ‘buenos dias’ on in the produce aisle. Our trip around the world is just starting.

We can grab nectarines from Chile, pineapples from Brazil, and who knows what else. Surprise your family tonight. Make an international salad of vegetables or fruit shipped in especially for you.

I’ll bet you’re feeling a little bit like the VIP you really are just about now, aren’t you? Well, we’re just getting started. There’s more. Oh yes, there is most certainly more.

Velveeta may hail from Monroe, N.Y., but not all cheeses are so domestic and pedestrian as our own pasteurized, prepared cheese products. There are some places in the world where they still wrap curds in cloth or pack them in wood and turn spoiled milk into an art form. From Britain to France to Switzerland and beyond, the cheese display at the grocery store is a United Nations of snack-inducing pleasures. From the rock hard bite of a wheel of Italian parmesan, to the ooey, gooey ooze of a fine French brie, the broad spectrum of textures, aromas, and tastes of the globe can be found in a single refrigerated case just down the street from your house.

How convenient.

And that’s to say nothing of rice, coffee, seafood, and a slew of other items that find their way from all over the world to your dining room table – thanks to the hard work, long hours, and selfless dedication of the folks who run your local supermarket. There are literally tons of foodstuffs from far off lands just waiting for you to pick them up and take them home. Best of all, you don’t need a map, or a translator, and you don’t even need to exchange your American money for the local currency to make the deal. There’s no haggling, either. Just motor on down, shop ‘til you drop, and bring home the international bounty.

We’re worldly, darn it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because we’ve never left the state doesn’t mean we can’t take home some Swiss chocolate, Columbian coffee, Australian wine, Indonesian rice, Chinese condiments, and Canadian bacon. And if there’s a sporting event on television this weekend, you might want to consider a German beer, too.

We’re in the midst of the international 863, y’all. Life just couldn’t get any better – not until football season comes around again, anyway.