If you’ve ever spent any part of your life living in a small town, you can probably relate to my belief that it’s a constant love/hate relationship. I’ve lived in the same small town my whole life and also gone through a vicious cycle of finding one reason to hate it and two more reasons to love it. What’s the worst part about small town living?
It’s the fact that everyone knows everyone.
I know tiny details about people I’ve barely spoken to and vice versa without even using Facebook. In a small town, everyone knows all the family trees, dating histories, and dirty laundry. From the day we’re born until the day we leave, people know your story before you even tell it. Everyone knows everyone. It is truly the worst. With that being said, what’s the best part about living in a small town? The fact that everyone knows everyone.
Let me paint you a couple pictures of what I mean before you label me absolutely crazy.
I, like everyone else in the world, have dealt with tragedy in my life. I’ve watched illnesses take over the ones I loved. Lives of friends and family have been cut unexpectedly short. Car accidents, fires, major power outages, just about every example of hard times have hit my family and those around me. What’s the one thing all of these events had in common? They all brought a community together.
I can’t speak for all towns, but in the one I live in, people will drop everything they have to help one another.
I’ve lost count of the number of benefit suppers, raffles, food drives, and any event that has been held to help a local family in need. My own family has been helped numerous times in the last 20 years by this very town. Even on a smaller scale, help is always a phone call away. Whether it’s to offer up a warm house and hot shower to a friend during a power outage, or helping a neighbor shovel their driveway after a snow-storm.
I once got my car stuck in a driveway snowbank and was pulled out of it in 10 minutes by someone who happened to be driving by and had a tow rope with him. The small acts of kindness are just as significant as the big ones.
In the town I live in, there are rarely secrets. People around here knew when I’d graduated college, got a new job, got a damn tattoo, before I’d even told them. Like everything else, this can be a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I wish things would stay private, and other times it’s nice that people remember the little details. We all know each other. We all help each other. We don’t have to like each other or be friends.
When you live in a town this small, the only way to get through life is by having each other’s back in a time of need. Many days have passed where I just wanted everyone to mind their business and stay out of mine. But without this small-town loyalty, kindness, and spunk, I might not have realized just how fortunate I am to have, not just a handful of people on my side when needed, a whole town.
I’d also probably still be stuck in a snowbank.