Thursday, July 24, 2008

Small Town Nebraska

Just a few years ago we were living in a busy, bustling suburb of the enormous DFW, Texas area. We could pretty much go in any direction and inside an hour we'd bump into a mall or two. There were grocery stores, gas stations, and churches on just about every corner. Running any one errand could easily turn into a full day-long event due to traffic, long waiting lines, and other distractions along the way. We shopped anonymously--rarely bumping into those we knew. If anything happened to one car, then life, as we knew it, would come to an absolute halt--so we had to have two cars. A cell phone was imperative lest we lose our loved ones and only hear from one another once we were getting ready for bed each night.

Today we live in small town Nebraska. And while it's definitely not without its own set of unique issues and frustrations, life is much slower and simplicities seem more appreciated. We often walk to the library, to the video store, to the grocery store, and to church. The "police" are no longer some anonymous group of mean-spirited people out to get you--now they are Bob, whose children play ball with yours, and Joe, whose wife owns the adorable little bakery down town. The mailman still walks door-to-door to deliver mail and you bump into your doctor at the grocery store every Saturday. The teenager next door knows your phone number by heart because that's your ID number to check out videos where she works. When there's a parade, the question isn't "Will you be going?" it's "Which corner will you be standing on?" If you go to the state park or the movies (only one theater--four movies), you call a family or two to see if they want to come along. That's just what you do when you live in a town of less than 6,000 people (half of whom are students).

In small towns, I love how "family" includes more than those related by blood. It includes those who call to tell you they missed you at some local gathering and those who drop by a couple meals after you have a baby. You simply can't disappear for any length of time (or fail to blog for long) without having a neighbor or friend check on you. You matter. You belong. What once felt claustrophobic is now so comforting.

I want to remember that the "small, small world" syndrome is what we make it. We can all decide to take life more slowly and familiarize ourselves with others or we can close our doors and watch opportunities slip by. No matter where I live, I always want to know all of my neighbors and have block parties on 4th of July the way we've done here every year. I want to attend small business open houses, house warming parties, and fit in as many trips to the various home held Christmas parties open to the town. I want to get up early enough on Sunday mornings to stroll to church and not be in such a rush afterwards that we can't accept a friend's invitation to lunch.

Yes, I've done my fair share of complaining about missing the conveniences of big city life. It's time to make amends because I believe, in many ways, this secluded, small town life has certainly saved this family some future heartache. There are hundreds of eensy teensy precious moments that we might have looked right over had we not been forced into a much lower gear. The one we were in previously was far too fast. And being on cruise control only aided our inability to see more than we did. It's nice to finally savor the moment.

2 ♥ thoughtful comments ♥:

Shay said...

oh where oh where is my SHAYE??? I miss your blogs, I hope your not unplugging your computer again, I have withdrawels!!! Miss you ;)

beckyw said...

I am so glad that you have come to appreciate our "Simple Country Life". We love it for all those reasons you mentioned! We feel blessed to live here! Our ancestors pick a fine place to set roots down!
Take Care!

Related Posts with Thumbnails