Recently, excerpts from my blog, A Simplified Life, were featured on The Passive Voice blog. The comments afterwards ranged from snarky to defending small communities. Many comments were skeptical: “Yeah, country-folk….watch out for ‘em. Dangerous lot.” They cited pubs, guns and hidden abuse, not to mention the small town exclusive: gossip. ? One lady defended that her valley had a Costco.
Regarding the disparity given toward small towns, this is my response:
Not all small towns are created equal and small towns are not for everyone. I live in a mid-sized town of about 27,000 people. What you will find: Tons of schools and churches, grocery stores, a movie theater, city offices, a library, a ball park, a new rodeo stadium, and coming this summer, a Costco. We are 10-20 minutes from a mid-sized city, and an hour from a larger city (biggest in our state—but small compared to LA, NY, or Houston). We have within an evening’s availability: concerts, theaters (where we get touring broadway shows), events at universities, professional basket ball, and fine dining. There’s even an amusement park 2 hours up the road.
Also in my town, if you knew where to look, you’d find many hunting rifles, shotguns and etc. There are numerous pick-up trucks, a CAL Ranch (store for ranchers etc.), and everyone and their dog plays softball on a summer night at the park built by volunteers. There are bad things too—like drugs and abuse (a couple of years ago we had a murder)—but they are an exception, not a rule. What you will not find: pubs, bars, or graffiti.
The towns I drove through were similar on a smaller scale. They had a few common public buildings: grocery stores, gas stations, schools, and churches.
But no bars or pubs. However, I suspect the residents had hunting rifles for the deer hunt, shotguns to keep foxes away from the turkeys and to keep city folk away all together.
Like I said, small towns are not created equal and they are not for everyone.
And yet, many of us search out “communities” where we can get to know people: churches, pubs, clubs, gyms, block parties, book groups on Goodreads, and FB discussions. I believe that although most would choose not to live in a small town (as evidenced by demographics), there is still a part of them that enjoys the familiarity and comfort that can be found in one.
It’s as if most of us want a place where we can go where we expect to find friends, where we can speak freely, and where “everybody knows your name.”