Friday, January 27, 2012

Small Town Thoughts

My house is about 12 minutes drive outside the town where I work everyday. Maybe you didn't know that I'm back working a 9-to-5 in an office. Cuts into the creating time. Sometimes, while I'm driving, I daydream about things I'd like to make. Do you think random thoughts while the landscape and sky are whizzing past your car windows?

Lately, I've been thinking about the difference between living in a big city, like Houston or St. Louis, and living in a small town as I am now.

I went to the town hall to pay the utilities.

Yes, in a small town, all the utilities are together and you pay one person in one building. The thing that made me realize the big difference, is that they know me. They know my name, and what house I live in. When I drive down the road in town, they wave at me.
That's so unique, so different from living in the big, anonymous city.

I was trying to catch a photo while driving of the fog along the side of the road. It's not easy to catch a picture of fog at 75 miles per hour. Here in Louisiana, the weather changes drastically from day to day. It might be 29 degrees F in the morning, and 75 degrees F by afternoon. I keep a sweater in the car, in case of rapid temperature changes.

At Christmas, the town had a parade with floats, and there was a contest for the best float. There were only 3 floats, and there was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. You see how this works out in a small town.

Everybody gets to have some fun.

I was nominated to be one of the 3 judges of the floats. So there I sat, at a decorated Judge's table, on the sidewalk in a prime position, watching the floats, and the dancers, and the 4-wheelers go by in the Christmas parade.

And I thought to myself, would this have EVER happened to me in Houston or St. Louis? Not in a million years.

Another example that I am thinking about. Again at Christmas, the town had an open house for the churches and some of the beautiful older homes in town. The 3 houses were wonderful, decorated with multiple Christmas trees, and apple cider to drink. There was lots of purple and gold, the LSU colors, used instead of red and green. And the homeowners are my neighbors. They are walking distance from my house, and they know me. When they see me in my yard, or at the studio, they wave at me.

Finally, at the small one-room library, where I go most Saturday mornings to get new books and turn in my old ones, the librarians know me. They have figured out the kind of books I like, the authors I read most. And they order books for me, inter-library, from parishes all over.

They call and let me know I have a book waiting. That's never happened to me before. It's so great, they see something and go ahead and get it for me, based on what I've been reading.
They know my name, and I don't even have to have my library card. When my books are due, they renew them for me.

I took all of them bags of cookies and Christmas candies, to say thanks for the nice things they do. One librarian was in charge of making the library float, the one that we "Judges" selected for the 1st place trophy. They knew me, I know them.

It's been a long time since I've lived in a small town.

I forgot how everyone gets to know you.  You become one of the citizens. You wave, they wave back. They bring you canned pickled okra and home grown grapefruit. Heads of home grown broccoli and cauliflower. Great big bowls of banana pudding, with toasted meringue on top.  Bright red Christmas poinsettias.

They leave them on your back steps. With a note.
If you've never had it, maybe you appreciate it even more, once you get it.
I know I do.


Unknown said...

You've summed up all the feelings I have about being in a small town and feeling a part of something! Cozy happiness :)

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Yes, it makes me actually get a tear in my eye sometimes. This morning I was driving to the intersection heading out of town, and the Water District Truck drove by - and he waved at me. Hi, there, small town Water District Guy!
This town has its own water tower and electrical plant. And there's a guy who lives in town, you call him at home when there's trouble. And he gets in his truck and comes over! to your house! Right away! Hey, hey, huh?

Lois Moon said...

Yep, I've got pretty much the same small town life here in Georgia. Everybody knows my house, but they all call it by the name of the people who built it in 1938 - oh, you live in the Glousier house. We still have only one telephone exchange in town so people actually give their number by saying just the last 4 digits! The town newspaper only comes out once a week, but news actually travels a different pipeline - I ask my neighbor what is going on and she tells me after her mama gets home from her bridge game with all the other town ladies. And yes, I too pay all my utilities through city hall - gas, electric, water, sewer, garbage, and the bright vapor lights we have up behind the house, but I don't go to pay at city hall anymore. The administrator over there hand writes an automatic debit slip each month! My favorite part is all the waving! I actually feel a little snubbed when I go back to visit the big city in which I lived for most of the first 35 yr. of my life and I don't get the waves.

SummersStudio said...

I grew up in one of those small towns and it is wonderful to have those connections to people. People look after each other and I am so happy that you are able to experience and be part of small town life.

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Lois, that's REALLY small town, 4-digit phone numbers, Wow. The pharmacy is just down the street, as is the library. The police station is across the street, and the firehouse is a block away. Do I ever feel safe! The town hall is just 2 blocks away, and my kids' house is walking distance the next street over. It's so pleasant in the evening to sit on the front porch and watch the sunset and the traffic.

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

LeAnn, I grew up in one, too. Then moved to the "big city" Fort Worth, and the "BIGGER City" of Houston. This little town reminds me of the place I grew up in North Texas.

Except in Louisiana, there's a LOT of special culture, you bet...