Larry Banman: You know you live in a small town, when . . .
Without a Doubt
Within the last week, I left my gloves and a pair of shoes in two different public places around Kremmling.
I’m so absentminded about that kind of thing that I didn’t even know they were gone until my routine brought me back to their respective locations.
In each instance, people saw the articles of clothing, recognized them as mine and left them in place because they knew I would return.
It probably says something about my choice of clothes that they weren’t taken by a stranger. It may even say something about the fact that I don’t have a very diverse wardrobe. Mostly, however, I think it makes a perfect ending to the statement, “You know you’re in a small town when …”
It got me to thinking about more “You know you’re in a small town when …” situations. Everybody who lives in small towns has examples of what it is like to live in a place where people know more about you than your own mother. Here are a few life examples of my own.
“You know you’re in a small town when …”
– The waitress in your favorite restaurant starts her conversation with, “Will it be the usual?” It’s even better when they don’t even ask, they just bring you a glass of water, coffee with cream and sugar and your usual platter of wheat toast, bacon and eggs, cooked just the way you prefer. Some people call that getting into a rut. I call it service.
– Somebody wants to deliver an item to you and they leave it with somebody else who is going to the same meeting that you will be attending. FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service and the UPS would soon be out of business if we all lived in small towns. People in small towns actually like to deliver things from one neighbor to another. It satisfies the human desire to lend a hand, plus it gives you a chance to connect for a chat with two different individuals.
– The clerk at the grocery store notes that you have selected a different brand of cereal and inquires to make sure you haven’t made a mistake.
– Trips to the coffee shop, the post office, the bank, the hardware store and the town hall. are not called errands. In a small town, that is called having a social life. I have made a “run” to the grocery store for a jug of milk and returned three hours later with a full stomach, numerous bits of news, a package to deliver to somebody at work, but no milk.
– Somebody calls you to tell you that your favorite show is starting its new series that evening and they don’t want you to miss the first episode.
– You attend a meeting and there is a vote. Somebody volunteers to vote for an absent member of the organization, because they know how the absent person feels about a particular topic. Nobody objects, because they also know how that absent person would vote. What happens more often is the absent person is volunteered to bake cookies because they are the best chocolate chip cookies in town and everybody agrees.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. For some people that type of familiarity drives them batty and they end up looking for the anonymity of living in a crowd. They pack up and leave in the middle of the night, only to be presented with parting gifts by the “Goodbye, but don’t be a stranger committee.”
As you might guess, I love the dynamics of a small town. To me, it is like living with a large extended family. You enjoy the good times with others and you have to work through the hard times. If you have a disagreement with somebody in a big city, you just move on, knowing you may never see that person again in your life. In a small town, that person with whom you agree probably has a post office box next to yours and will more than likely be on some committee with you in the future. You have to get along to get on with your respective lives. If you don’t reconcile, you are forever driving by the post office, waiting for that person to leave.
“You know you’re in a small town when …” you just realized the newspaper columnist stole your funny story for a column topic.
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It’s the oldest saying for many employees in the business up here: ‘I came for winter but I stayed for the summer.’