One thing is clear. When you live in a town for 18 years you know people, you know their kids, you’ve seen that town grow in industry, in population. I would even go so far as to say, one would have spies around town watching out for each others’ teens. Small town, yes. Community, yes. Small town doesn’t mean there is not trouble to found. We’ve all seen the news, the movies.
However, there are certain things you come to depend upon. In our previous town, every November there is a tradition where all the townsfolk come to downtown, to eat chili, to drink hot chocolate, to meet friends on the streets, to shop the local fare and to stay until it dark to sing Christmas songs, watch fireworks and watch the star on top of the town plateau be lit for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. All in all, families walk way with painted faces and laughter abounding. Knowing and loving community.
Since moving to a new town almost a year ago, the reality of 18 years of history no longer exists in my here and now. We attended our new town’s Firehouse Chili Supper. For a small town, there was quite a turnout. Chairs and tables filled the fire station as did the aroma of chili and hot dogs. The tall ceilings that normally house fire trucks, ambulances, snow cats and sirens, was then filled with laughter and music from all eras blasting through the speakers with an occasional announcement of the next free drawing of products given to help finance the next years’ community needs.
And, that’s when it occurred to me. I was alone in the middle of crowd. I was without history. I was without familiarity. The extrovert in me was having a moment. Quite a few moments. It’s not the same. I didn’t expect it to be. I looked forward to the change… last year.
The reality is: the culture is different here, the amount of space between houses is different here, the Walmart is different here and the grocery store is different here. And, by the way, it doesn’t make sense. Safeway needs to fire the architect who designs what products go where. If you don’t understand why a company would put tissues, toilet paper and paper towels on the same aisle as frozen dinners, then you join me in the “That’s Wrong” club. My grocery list has been adjusted to accommodate the lack of organization and common sense of a normal grocery store. Along with a little alliteration, I will eventually remember where everything is located, including the Beer, Butter and Biscuits on aisle 24.