Monday, July 9, 2012

Songs from a Small Town

Growing up in a small town has its ups and downs. I am wired for city living, and I'm not ashamed of that. At the same time, I have a deep appreciation for the small town pace of life. The city (should I say village?) I grew up in had a bold population sign of 404 people. Loud and proud.

I lived a few miles outside of town with my five siblings and a herd of goats. My parents built a comfortable home by squishing two cabins together. We lived on a dirt road where I would fight loose gravel for control of my bike tires. We knew all our neighbors and never considered locking the front door when we left.

We would have picnics on the ruins of a nearby small town destroyed by a fire long before my grandpa was born. The foundations of old homes and warehouses stuck out of the ground in defiance of the inevitable weathering that will some day reduce it to dust.

I spent a lot of time at my neighbor's house who made peanut butter and honey sandwiches. As a child, I described them with a grin as having "too much peanut butter and way too much honey." They were perfect. When my mouth was sufficiently sticky, my neighbor would pull out her guitar and we would sing. My favorite songs were gospel bluegrass.

My mom's vegetable garden was my least favorite place to be. I hated planting. I hated weeding. I hated harvesting. But I loved snapping the ends off green beans. We laid out news paper across the living room floor and sat with grocery bags full of beans. We would watch WWII movies like "Stalag 17" or musicals like "Singing in the Rain" while snapping beans. I'm sure I did more watching than snapping, but I was good at hiding my idleness.  Or so I thought.

The rate at which life goes in a bigger city is fast and rarely dull. I like the idea of going for a walk and seeing hundreds of people that I've never seen before, nor will I see again. I like having the opportunity to meet someone new every day. There is always something to do whether or not I have money. And the summers are just hotter in the city.

I've had the best of both worlds for which I'm grateful. I grew up in small town, I'm living young adult in a mid-sized city. Now I need to figure out the best place to experience middle-age and retirement. This may stem from my small town roots, but I'm not in a hurry to figure it out.

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