Many years ago, a very wise person told me that I would eventually travel extensively and would learn many things. She also told me to never forget where I came from, to never forget what was important in life.
At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant. I grew up and was still living in a small town in southeastern Indiana. It seemed rather insignificant to me, about the only thing there were corn fields and basketball hoops.
There were very few of what we now consider the modern necessities of life, restaurants, theater, etc, the finer things in life. It took several years for me to finally realize that wise person was correct.
Many say that people who live in small towns are narrow minded, old fashioned, stubborn, and many of the various negative traits we attach to people who are different than ourselves.
Having lived in both communities, large cities and small towns, I have found it doesn’t matter where you live or how you grow up, there are narrow minded, stubborn people on both sides of the aisle, conservative or liberal, black, white, male female,rich, poor, it doesn’t matter. Often times the ones claiming someone else is narrow minded is the one who is the most narrow minded.
Having said that, there are many advantages to living in a small town.
The most important things in life are the small things, and many believe living in a small town is a small thing, home to small minds.
Living in a small community naturally keeps you closer to the land, closer to nature. In this world, many adhere to the American Indian philosophy that says we are losing our way because people no longer live close to the land or nature. I believe this is true, and it is awfully hard if not impossible to live close to the land when living in a ten story high rise in the middle of a large city, sure you can go to a park and co-mingle with a thousand other people, it isn’t the same as being in the middle of nowhere.
The most important things in life are friends and family, and the times we spend with them.
This culture is most likely to be cultivated in a smaller community, where people live close to each other, and have time and actually take time to cultivate these relationships.
My high school graduating class had a total of fifty-three members. For a large part, we have remained close over the years, even though many of us now live many miles apart in different areas of the country.
I still consider them to be some of my closest friends, that’s something most who grew up in larger communities can say, many can’t even remember one person or have seen them since their high school graduation.
While it is true we can and often do make friends along the way, they don’t replace the ones we grew up with and have the most connections.
I still have lifelong friends in that small community even though I don’t get back there as much as I would like. Regardless of when I would walk into the Napoleon Tavern or the Osgood Grub Company, I will find lifelong friends.
That is priceless.