The joys of small towns

Published 1:21 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

I was sorting though some miscellaneous items I had saved through the years and found a letter from our granddaughter. It was addressed simply, “Granddaddy and Grandmother,” followed by our address. It reminded me of a poll of co-workers and friends I took years ago about life in a small town after I heard about someone receiving a letter with the same salutation and only the name of the town following. Anyone who has ever lived in a small town has an opinion about it. I requested those I polled complete the sentence, “You know you live in a small town…”

One person said, “When you are introduced to someone, that person asks who your daddy is, then inquires if you are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.

One laughed and said, “When you say something you shouldn’t about someone and are met with a cold stare, you discover you are talking about that person’s aunt, cousin, sister, or other relative.” Apparently, she had experienced just that. A good rule to follow is never, never do that because a lot of people in small towns are related. You’ll find many of them have the same last name.

Other examples were, when the teacher who is teaching your children taught you and your mother (or daddy). When you have sickness or death in your family, people express their concern or sympathy by bringing in food. In small town south Alabama, you will see motorists often pull to the side of the road as a funeral procession drives by, expressing a public display of respect for the deceased and their families.

Some said they thought people in small towns were friendlier. People nod or speak to you on the street, whether they know you or not; strangers wave at you as you drive by.

Remember the “Mom and Pop” grocery stores of a by-gone era?

You walked in, got your groceries, and had the proprietor put it on your bill. Someone pointed out that even today, there are still places in small towns you can buy groceries on credit,

“When you drive down the street and it’s still lined with trees,” one nature lover answered.

Another commented that in small towns, you don’t need to use turn signals because everybody knows where you are going anyway.

It’s common knowledge that everybody knows everybody else’s business, one person declared.

“Just walk into a public place and you’re sure to find out some local gossip.”

A neighbor who often traveled said, “When you go off to a big city and return home, you sure are glad to get back.”

Here’s something someone mentioned that most of us have seen happen.

Many young people just can’t wait to move away, yet as the years march by, they find themselves mighty glad to return.

Last, when you’re out shopping in a small town, you’re bound to run into at least two or three people you know.

If you’re a small town resident, you probably can add to this list.