Friday, February 5, 2010

Small Towns

I've lived in some fairly large cities in my life, but I much prefer a small town. I quote from my first letter (with the exception of the name of the town), "(Town) is a nice small town, where the people are real, the streets are clean, and the nights are peaceful. We have made many friends already and feel that, after only a mere seven months, we are truly a part of the community. Our neighbors have been neighbors, and that is saying a lot. One neighbor greeted us on the second day we were here with a welcome and a strawberry cake. We have fallen in love with the people in our church and feel that the feeling is mutual."

There are places in the world where one might close their eyes and imagine they've gone back in time. Places where crime is very minimal and usually petty. Places where you can leave your doors unlocked. Places where everybody knows everybody (that can be good and it can be bad!) I realize these places are vanishing quickly as perpetrators of those non-existent crimes from the big cities discover this untapped source of "gullibleness" (if that is a word). But we enjoy them while we can.

When we moved to this small Mississippi town, we were moving from a semi-unpleasant larger city (don't want to offend anyone but their major industry was a very smelly one), and before that, we lived, for many years, in a town whose major industry was tourism. You would think that outsiders would instantly feel like insiders in a tourism town: but not so. Even though we lived there for almost 20 years, we never felt like we were a part of the community. Hard to explain or understand. I think there were a lot of undercurrents, maybe even on a spiritual level, that struggled for power. That's why it was so refreshing to come to a place I described as having "real people", "clean streets" and "peaceful nights." We have since moved to another small town, also in Mississippi, where we still live. What is so interesting to me is that, in spite of the short year and a half that we lived in that first Mississippi town, we are remembered by more of those acquaintances from that town than from the previous one where we lived for so many years. We do, however, have some very dear friends that still live in that town, as well as family, which will always tie us to it to a certain extent.

I have voiced a fear in the recent past that small town America is in danger of extinction because of technology, the environment with all of the talk of saving it by changing transportation modes, and a number of other contributing factors. I guess it could go the other way because of computers and the internet: people working from home, purchasing everything from clothing, to cars, to groceries online. That option has my vote! Let's get back to our roots. Plant a garden! Get to know your neighbors! Get a horse! (LOL!) Don't get a motorcycle . . . . (another story)!

Cheers for small towns!

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