We live in a town of less than 1000 people. Smaller than most neighborhoods in cities, our current town is minute in the big scheme of the world. Small town living is nothing new to J and I. We have dabbled in bigger city living, but have realized over the short timeframe of our lives thus far that there are BIG reasons to live SMALL. We hope to instill in our kids that the SMALL things are what really matter in life.
We have some fabulous neighbors. And I mean fabulous. We have 2 seperate neighbors that plow our driveway and front sidewalks when it snows, half the time before we are even out of bed. We have never asked them to do this, they just take it upon themselves. I always try to make up a batch of cookies or some other yummy treat after we realize that Gary/Mike has just saved us HOURS of time by using 5 swipes of his tractor blade to keep our driveway clear (and me from getting stuck!) They are forever watching out for us, in a good way. One will return our kid’s toys that get blown away in a windstorm, another will care for our dog (RIP Ryder) or bunnies, even if just for the day, or bring our mail up for us if the weather is bad, invites us to self-pick vegetables anytime we want in their large garden. Again, we have never asked them to do these things, they are just awesome people! Last week we raked up all our leaves from our massive maple trees and burned them. Gary came over mid-raking and asked if he could have some leaves to cover and insulate something in his garden that was just planted. Well, of course, Gary, take as much as you want!! He ended up taking 4 packed full garbage cans (in other words, saved us a lot of work!) Do neighbors get any better?
I absolutely LOVE working with people in this and surrounding small communities. When I am getting to know a new patient on their initial visit with me, I always try to learn about their family, way of life, school, job, etc. I don’t think I have come across one person yet in that we didn’t find some kind of connection. It usually goes something like this: Me as I am evaluating their shoulder/neck/knee/jaw/what have you: “So you live in Wilton here?”. Patient: “Well, just outside of town. How about you? Any family close by up in Bennett?” Me: Yes. My parents live in Durant, where I grew up. I have a brother and sister. My brother is Mitch, he’s an electrician. My sist-” Patient: “Oh Mitch!? That’s your brother? Oh he just rewired our grain bin. I had him in one day to hook up a ceiling fan for me too. Great guy! What a coincidence!” OR Patient: So do you have children?” Me: “Yes, my husband is Jeremiah and we have 2 kids: Gabri–” Patient: “Oh I know Jeremiah! He’s my nephew’s cross country coach! He just loves cross country and Jeremiah! We just were at their meet on Thursday. So do you run?” And on it goes. So fun! I could write a whole blog post on my patients; things they have taught me, connections they have had, hilarious stories, and experiences from their lives that they have shared. But I digress, perhaps a future blog post….
I have a 13 minute drive (13 miles) to work with no traffic, besides the occasional combine or tractor that I have to zip around. There’s a perk to small towns in itself!
When I go out for a run, I count the distance by country miles. Want 4 miles? Run a square mile. 6? Run a 2 square mile loop. I don’t know if city-dwellers get to experience the same kind of clarity and beauty of running when they are confined to city streets instead of wide-open fields and gravel roads. There is something really cool about running out in the middle of nowhere……although it’s not ‘nowhere’ when you know who lives in all of the houses and farms you run by 🙂
When I walk into the polling place to vote on election day, the ladies greet me by name and only have me sign and do the necessary paperwork out of legality. They personally know probably 90% of the voters and rarely have to ask anyone their name. I think that is cool!
When a local sports team goes to state, the whole town in decorated. Shops and businesses show their support with window paint, there are encouraging and congratulatory signs on highways leading out of town, and the whole school may shut down for the day so students can attend the state event. What a sense of community!
I call the local car dealership where we purchased our car 3 years ago to get an oil change/maintenance appointment set up. “What’s the name?”. “Costello” I say. “Oh yeah, you’ve got the Zephyr, right?” Me, impressed that he knows my make of car, “Yep, that’s right.” Service manager: “Ok Sarah, you working tomorrow? Drop it off tomorrow morning anytime before work, I’ll give you a loaner car and we will return your car back to you at work in Wilton by noon.” Talk about personal! That’s a local business I’m sticking with!
My kids think every red Ford Escape they see is ‘Nana and Papa’s car’, no matter where we are. It’s hilarious. When we see one, G demands that I pull over so he can get in and ‘ride with nana-papa’. 99% of the time it’s not them, so I have to explain to them the novel idea that there are actually more than one red Ford Escape in the world. They don’t get it. They don’t realize that their little existence is part of a much broader, larger world, but I love their innocence and naivety. They see the world for what it is to them: SMALL. And I think they are on the right track. 🙂