Sunday, November 29, 2009

Small Town Comfort

I went home to Charleston, MO for Thanksgiving. I used to think I was from a big town. It had everything I needed growing up - a school, a park, a convenience store, a fireworks store, a couple grocery stores, and a few restaurants. When I was in high school, we really moved uptown and got a McDonald's. This caused a need for another stoplight, raising the grand total to 2. It was a big deal.

Needless to say my idea of a "big" town changed as soon as I stepped outside our "city" limits. Our population sign as you entered the town read 5,085. Someone once added a sign at the bottom that read "and two old crows."

I was from a town where it was expected that you wave to people as you drive by. People didn't think you were crazy if you said hello to them. Once I was out walking and 2 women on their front porch invited me up for lemonade. I had no idea who they were, so I decided to accept in order to get a closer look at them. My plan didn't work; even though I got closer, I still had no idea who they were. They then told me they knew my mom, so I figured the lemonade was safe to drink. It was hard to go walking in a small town. Cars would stop and offer you a ride, and people outside would want you to stop and chat.

One thing about living in a small town is that people get to know your ways pretty well. This was clearly evident one time when my brother and I were home from college, and my brother went to the grocery store. When he went to check out, the lady said, "This isn't the kind of toilet paper your mom usually buys." She then told him what kind my mom bought and asked if he wanted to change. My brother decided to just keep the kind he had. He couldn't believe that our town was actually that small.

Living in a small town does have its ups and downs. Not much is secret, but you can find people who are willing to help when you are in need, as well as someone to offer lemonade on a hot summer day.

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