26 June 2014

Sometimes, Small Town Life Aint So Bad

There are so many times when I want to do nothing more than complain about living in such a small town. Sure, we're in between two larger towns, both within a 20 minute {give or take} driving distance. But that's just it ... I don't always want to sit in the car for 20 minutes just to get to McDonalds when the kids are begging for a happy meal. Or when all I need is something at the drug store.

And that's part of life in a small town -- there isn't always a lot around. We may have two grocery stores within 2 miles of each other -- but neither have "competitive" prices. They both are sky high, charging $5 for a gallon of milk {versus $3.50 at Walmart ...} and who knows how much for meat and other essential items. Half the time, they don't have what you are looking for. Just the other day, all I needed was a bunch of bananas. And wouldn't you know ... they had none. BANANAS!

Our town is built on gas stations, a couple mom & pop shops, and two traffic lights. Two thousand people, as of the last census. It takes all of five minutes to drive from one side of town to the other -- blink and you could easily miss it.

But then there are the times when I am reminded of just how pleasant life can be in a small town. When you see a familiar face every where you turn, and its not an uncomfortable happenstance. Where "It takes a village ..." really applies.

Yesterday?! Yesterday was a great reminder as to why it's not such a bad place to live, all the time. {Sure ... it could be closer to the beach, but that's another story for a different day ...}. M was working, so I needed to run an errand for him. He had ordered some new blades for the lawn mower, and I needed to pick them up. The kids were both in cranky moods -- they had been up since 6am, both of them, and were defiant to no end. I really wasn't looking forward to getting them out of the car and dragging them into a store full of auto parts, sharp objects, and expensive tools ... but I had no choice.

We waited only a moment in line before the owner got done with another customer and came to help us. A single mention of M's name, and the man knew who I was talking about, what I needed and went to grab it right away. When he came back, he smiled and talked to the kids a bit. Suddenly he reached under the counter and grabbed two little paper bags. And to these two kids who were melting down mere moments earlier, who were the "troublesome two" for me, -- all was right with the world.

They took one peek in the bag ... and could not stop saying "Mommy ... that man is so NICE!" "Oh goodness -- thank you!" over and over and over.  He laughed a bit -- taken aback, he says, by how sweet and polite they both were, and how happy they were over such a simple gesture.

As you can imagine, the bags were filled with candy -- a few caramels {their favorites}, a lollipop and a couple pieces of bubble gum. Nothing exciting or over the top to the rest of the world, but in their minds, it was pure gold! And they treated those bags as such the rest of the day!

So sure -- there are times when I complain about how much of a hassle it can be to live in a small, middle-of-nowhere town. But then I'm reminded of small town kindness ... and the joys that can be found inside a tiny paper bag. And I can only step back and smile, thankful that we live here for now, and that this  village is helping in raising my children.

Especially on days when they step in before I want to pull my hair out!


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