There appears to be a common misconception when it comes to small town life. Many people see getting out of their small town as a means of “making it.” There are many cases in which this is true. Home life in small towns isn’t always easy. Many parents aren’t around that much due to work or because they like to have too much fun down at the local bar. Maybe people leave and never come back because they felt isolated. Small town life can be hard for someone that is young and single. Many people leave because they were under the impression that they just didn’t belong. I get it. Small town life isn’t for everyone. You’ve got to love it and the people in it in order to stay there.
I often picture myself enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book while sitting out on my front porch in the mornings. One of the neighbors will bike past me and shout a “Good morning,” and be on their way or they may stop and chat for a while. I picture myself coaching my son's little league team with sponsors from small businesses of the backs of our caps. I picture seeing the same people at the same gatherings year after year. Everybody knows me and I know them. (Yes, there are certain times when this doesn’t work out in your favor.) You get into trouble with the law and it’s plastered on the front page of the local paper. You break up with someone and rumors spread about you like spilled kool-aid on the kitchen floor. There are also times when you just want to be alone and wish people would just mind their own damn business. It’s a tough balancing act between putting yourself out there too much and being deemed the creepy guy living in the house on the corner who never is seen or heard from.
There’s just something special about the peacefulness associated with small town life. Everybody comes together in times of celebration. The festivals held each and every year on Main Street. You see old friends that you haven’t seen since graduation. You throw a few back and talk about the times you tore up backroads and caused mischief all while tucked away under the comfort of a beer tent. The 4th of July celebration held in town or out on the lake makes you appreciate the hard work volunteers do. You think of the many young men and women from your community who put their life on hold and went to serve their country. You think of the old timers who tell stories down at the VFW about times in which they looked fear straight in the eye and rose to the occasion amidst their finest hour. You chomp down on a hot dog and raise a glass to them as the sound of freedom rumbles throughout your city.
Everybody also comes together in times of grief as well. You didn’t think that having that many casseroles brought to you was possible, but they appear whether you want them or not. You may have said two words to some of the folks that extend a hand to you and offer to help you get back on your feet. You’re not just another number in small towns. You’re a son of a carpenter, a daughter to a teacher, a mother to the Homecoming King, the father of the girl going to school to become a doctor. You are all of these things and so much more. Be proud of where you are from. Small towns may get a lot of flack, but when you have a great community—there’s nothing better.