29 September 2010

Small Town USA.

When I was little I didn't know anything about town sizes.

Okay, I still don't.

But I did know that, compared to the other towns around mine, I grew up in a pretty good-sized town.  And then, of course, there was the city.

The city was Asheville, NC.  It was the big city.  Not big like Atlanta or NYC.  Good grief, those must be so big they can't even fit on the map.  But Asheville?  I considered Asheville the average city.

And I guess in some ways, it is.

But I had a perspective changing moment last year while on a business trip with work.  I was in Dothan, Alabama for a week.  It's in the far southeast part of Alabama-- almost in Florida.  It wasn't a particularly large town, and I even saw some people taking their pet snakes on a walk.

Really?  Pet snake?  On a walk?  Apparently, the sunshine is good for them.  I was so stunned I just asked to take a picture.

Please take notice that they both have snakes.  And they're bigger than me.  I have on record on my facebook page that the yellow one is 8 feet and the other one is 5 feet.


Anywho, that's not the point.  I'm hanging out in this town all week and decide that it is most definitely a small town.

Then I checked Wikipedia.  Population of Dothan?  65,000+

Population of the county I grew up in?  54,033.


I counted the whole county I grew up in because in the census, they apparently only counted people living inside the city limits of my hometown, with is around 8 sq miles.  Many more people live in that town than inside the city limits, but the county includes 2 larger towns and 2 smaller towns.

The point is, my hometown is smaller.

And I was terrible at social studies in high school.

So in honor of the apparent small town that I grew up in (although I maintain that it's not tiny, just smaller than a city), I started to put together a list of things I miss about my small town.

Feel free to add things that you love about your (small) town.  Cities, you'll have your chance.  Trust me.

I miss letting my dogs roam outside.  At my parents house, you can leave the dogs out all day while you're at work.  Even when we were first married we could let them outside for awhile with or without supervision.

And this may sound crazy for people who live in a small town, but I miss going to the grocery store and seeing old friends.  Whether it be people from the church I grew up in, or high school friends, or even old flames.  It's fun to see people you know and casually say, "hi."

Okay, maybe not old flames. Some of them.  A few.  When I'm with my hubby.

Ending up at the same places as my siblings.  This summer Josh and I were in my hometown all the time, it seems.  And so many times, we ended up bumping into one of my siblings.  It was kind of cool for people to figure out the tangled web and that we were all siblings.

One of my most vivid memories from the past few years since we moved away was driving past the courthouse on Memorial day and seeing my grandfather on the steps giving a speech to a crowd.  I choked up a bit.  I was proud, and also sad that I wasn't there for the whole thing.  I don't know the people that speak on the courthouse steps about veterans here in the city.

Family cookouts.  They happen a lot in my family.  One person finds a deal on steaks and suddenly, it's a family cookout.

Coming home to find a box of goodies on my front porch.  Sometimes I would know who dropped it by, sometimes I would have to call around.  One time, we never figured out who dropped it by.  It was always random.  Sometimes cookbooks, a lot of times vegetables.  Someone got too many or had a great crop that year and figured we'd want some.  How awesome is that?

Finding help.  When we lived in my hometown, we knew who to call if our toilet clogged.  Or if I had a flat tire and Josh wasn't in town.  Or if I needed directions to an obscure hospital that Josh was being taken to in an ambulance.

I should tell that story sometime.

So tell me, what do you love about small town life?

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