The Postscript


Picture of Carrie Classon

Carrie Classon

April 10, 2024

My husband, Peter, and I spend the winters in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The center of the town is a designated World Heritage Site, which means the facades of the buildings must remain as they were in the mid-1700s. The streets are made of round and sometimes slippery cobblestones. The doors are stout and covered with hundreds of coats of paint, and on the top of every building is a rooftop terrace where people can watch the fireworks that go off for no reason that anyone has ever been able to figure out. It is wonderful.

But there is another world, just outside our little town, where there are big-box stores and a couple of very large grocery stores with food courts and bakeries and all the brands we are used to buying in the United States.

Peter and I have never been there.

Instead, we go to the vegetable market that gets deliveries every hour, and the bakery where particular types of bread only appear at particular times of day. For everything else, we go to Bonanza.

When you see the outside of Bonanza, you could be forgiven for thinking their inventory might not be extensive. The store appears to be smaller than a two-chair hair salon. Immediately inside the door, a checkout counter occupies most of the space. Sitting at the counter is the same woman every day, engaged in animated conversation with someone new. The conversation always sounds interesting (and probably includes a lot of juicy gossip), but the Spanish is spoken at a velocity far too fast for my ears, so I just listen to the rapid-fire dialogue while the cashier pushes buttons and makes change with lightning speed, without ever taking a pause for breath.

Inside there is, quite literally, everything. Peter compares it to a “Harry Potter”-style store that somehow magically grows the farther in you venture. I like to think of Garrison Keillor’s monologues about the mythical Lake Wobegon, the home of Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery.

“If you can’t get it at Ralph’s,” Keillor would assure his listeners, “you can probably get along without it.” That is Bonanza exactly.

Every time I have bet against Bonanza, I have been wrong.

“They won’t have balsamic vinegar glaze,” I told Peter.

“I bet they will,” Peter said.

They had a dozen varieties, three different brands of the normal type and several flavors I had never heard of, all at half the price I would pay in the U.S.

Above the balsamic glaze is pie filling and next to it is shampoo and on the shelf you cannot reach are paper napkins of every imaginable variety. There is cat food by the pound and candles and spices and bulk flour and oats and chia and flax seeds, wheat germ and raisins, prunes, and too many kinds of beans and nuts to count.

There is cheese by the slice and wine and pickles and cookies and toothpicks. The only things they don’t sell at Bonanza are fresh breads, vegetables and meat – because you know you are supposed to go to the proper store to get those.

I love it. I love having one tiny store filled literally to the rafters. The staff keep a ready supply of stools and long sticks with hooks on the end to reach the half of the inventory that is far out of reach.

We still haven’t been to the fancy grocery store outside of town with the wide aisles and the food courts. We’ve heard it’s great. Maybe we’ll go someday. But probably not.

Till next time,


Carrie Classon

is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, and performer. She champions the idea that it is never too late to reinvent oneself in unexpected and fulfilling ways. Learn more about Carrie and her memoir, “Blue Yarn,” at