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Berm

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During a recent cross country road trip I witnessed one tire blow out, saw no less than four abandoned boat trailers, and was bottlenecked around a flaming pickup truck hauling a camper, upside down and jackknifed against the guardrail, with a breadcrumb trail of clothing and beach toys and trash marking its path of destruction.

Vacation dreams are scattered along our nation’s highways, their well-planned intentions lying lifeless in the berm.

That’s what the berm is for. (For those of you outside Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, that’s what we call the shoulder of the road.) It’s a safety zone, a place to pull aside when smoke’s coming out your engine or your tires fall off or your kids have to pee really, really bad and no-they-can’t-hold-it-until-the-next-exit.

Sometimes Ms. Jones needs some berm. Your entire store might be her berm, a place she wishes her home looked like – no kids fighting on the sofa, no sleepless nights tossing in bed. You might be the safest place she visits all day, her escape route.

Sometimes she needs a little time in the berm just to check the map, get her bearings, make sure she’s on the right road. When she seems to shut you down, she’s really just sorting things out. She’ll pull back onto the road when the coast is clear.

Where’s your berm? Where do you go to cool down or get fixed up? Where’s your safe spot when the rest of the world is whizzing by but you just can’t keep up?

Sometimes a few minutes in the berm is all you need.

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