January 19, 2005

Small town USA

Small towns……you’ve gotta love em. I love ours. Our town has a population of about 3,000, mostly living in outlying areas from town. As you drive, walk, shop or eat anywhere in town, you see people you know….you smile and wave….or sometimes you duck and hide around a corner…ha!

My daughters took me out to lunch today at a quaint family restaurant downtown. This picture is the actual restaurant....found it on the net. We saw a few tourists, but mostly locals and did our waving and smiling. Our waiter, a friend of my daughters’ named Bob, teased us and the workers in back were busy singing happy birthday to another boy we know, Cody, who works there. Then we saw Cody taking packages out to his car, two bags of new diapers. The boss who just had a baby knew our youth ministers’ wife just had a baby and was passing along disposable diapers that were too small for her baby, even though they don’t officially know each other. We ate our lunch and Bob, our waiter asked if we wanted him to bring our car up to the front door…..the restaurant being in a store front in our downtown area, we park in a general parking lot on the next corner. He opened our doors for us and sent us off with a big smile….so fun.

Being a resident of a small town you know each other’s phone numbers by only the last 4 digits since we all have the same first 3. There are some family names that almost half the people in town are related to. You know the bad as well as the good news about people….and when you read the police log in the weekly paper ….and everyone does….your heart breaks for the families of people whose names are there in black and white. You know people or kids on almost every float that goes by in every parade and you yell their names….and small towns have a lot of parades! You know where the judge, the policemen, the preachers and the undertaker live. You know your mechanic personally and they don’t cheat you….in fact ours does simple work for free oftentimes. Shop and restaurant owners know your name and appreciate your regular business, .….today while at lunch one of the workers brought by an envelope to our table and it was a coupon for two free meals just for being a regular customer and they know that my husband and I rarely get out together alone. =)

I was just appreciating our environment today and thought I’d share the value of a small community with you. Sure there are some stinkers and town embarrassments, and there is no such thing as a quick run to the grocery store because you see 3 or 4 people who want to make contact and know how you’re doing, how did your doctor appointment go, how are the kids? But I wouldn’t trade it for the big city or suburbs where you feel detached from your neighbors and the store keepers you go to every week still don’t recognize you!

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