I was born in a small town. Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world, waiting on a midnight train going anywhere. Just a few lines from songs by John Cougar and Journey to describe who I am.
I had big dreams of catching that midnight train and going wherever it would take me, but only ended up settling an hour away from home in the “big city”. Of course if I could go back and do it all over again, I would. The world was a big ol’ place full of adventure. At the time I had no responsibility and yet no courage to venture out. Now that I have the courage to do so, time has also brought about too many responsibilities to just pick up and go. Someday I will!
I miss my hometown, but I’m lucky because it’s only a short drive anytime I get the urge to go for a visit. I find it hard to go back to visit since my mom passed away, but I do go back to visit my dad, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
This is one of my favorite photos from the small town I come from. It just reminds me of home:
There are many pros and cons for the small town life just as there are for life in the city.
There’s never a lot to do. Not many places to shop or eat, but it has grown since I lived there. One of the greatest past times as a teen was to “cruise” Main Street in your car and then everyone ended up parking in the church parking lot and hanging out. A short honk as you passed a friend was a way to say “hi”. If you “layed” on the horn as you passed someone, it meant you wanted that person to pull over so you could chat awhile. Sometimes you’d park your car and get in with someone else and keep on cruisin’. A good part of my paycheck as a teen went towards gas money to accommodate all this cruisin’!
It was the kind of town that you waved at everyone you passed while driving because you knew everyone. BUT if it was one of your friends, you crazy waved as you passed…I mean it was one of your best friends after all!
It was also the kind of town where everyone knew who everyone else was. There wasn’t a lot of privacy and you couldn’t get by with much…gossip or the truth, everyone knew what was going on with you. Sometimes they knew what I’d done before I did! I always knew to tell the truth when I got home if I was asked where I’d been or what I’d done because chances were my parents already knew.
The plus side to this was that if you had a crisis or a death in the family, everyone knew and the whole town was there for you at the drop of a hat. When you had a death in the family, people would come by from all over town and bring a casserole…dessert…tables and counters would be covered with dishes. They’d visit with you and pray with you and you knew you were not alone.
Where I live now people don’t do that. The city is too big. It’s not a close knit community. However, at least in my neighborhood, if something happens I make it a point to visit and do what I can to assist my neighbors.
Here in the city, no one pulls over for funeral processions except those of us who came from small towns. Back home everyone pulled over off the side of the road to show their respect. Men would even get out of their cars, take off their hats, and place them over their hearts. That’s respect! Not only for the person who passed away, but for their families as well.
I for one think the pros of living in a small town outweigh the cons. People always watched out for you and your kids. If you needed help with something, you didn’t even have to ask and no one expected anything in return. It was a simple way of life and simple was good.
We all have big dreams no matter where we live or where we come from. We’re always waiting on that midnight train to take us somewhere…”anywhere but here”. And once we get where we’re going and life happens, we usually long for those simpler times of our youth.
I can’t say I’d want to move back and live there, but I can say it’s always nice to “catch that train” and go back home once in awhile.
No matter where I live, I’ll always be a small town girl at heart. Nothing will ever change that.