Sunday, June 18

The Joy of Life in Small Town America

When people hear "New York", they think, City. That's not even close to the true picture of life in most of the state. I've outlined below some of the more accurate descriptions of living a place that isn't even considered a suburb. It's downright, truth-be-told, pretty much the boonies. If you've never experienced living in a small town, here's a bit of what it's like...

1a) We have festivals, parades and celebrations for every reason imaginable. This past weekend, it was the Strawberry Festival.
1b) There are 2 grocery stores in town and one of them is totally inaccessible from 8am to 5pm because the streets are blocked off for the current festival.

2a) You can eat top-notch surf & turf (lobster tail/filet mignon) along with the side dishes, for $19.99 on Saturday night.
2b) You need to bring your cash because they don't accept credit cards (although they do have an ATM in the lobby).

3a) If you leave your purse & wallet in your unlocked van out in the driveway, everything will still be there in the morning.
3b) If you lock your keys in the house or car, it'll be faster to call the locksmith from your cell phone than to hike to your neighbor's for help. Oh, wait...we're in the country here. There is no cell phone service until you get into town, so forget that. Hopefully you wore your hiking shoes.

4a) Your neighbor never lets their dog poop on your lawn when he takes it for a walk, because we don't have to walk our dogs--they go outside on their own.
4b) You might step in poop on your lawn but it's probably not dog poop. It's most likely deer droppings, raccoon scat or woodchuck (groundhog) waste. If you're lucky enough, it might even be bear dung.

5a) You don't have to wait for very many traffic lights.
5b) You do have to wait for deer crossing the road, sometimes ducks or chickens, and occasionally even cows insisting on the right of way.

6a) There is exactly ONE Starbucks within four or five counties and it is approximately 10 miles from my house.
6b) The local Dunkin Donuts guy knows just how his customers like their coffee.

7a) If your car doesn't move in your driveway for a day or two, at least one neighbor will call and say they were passing by your house and just wanted to make sure everything is okay.
7b) If you get busy and don't mow your lawn for a week, the same neighbor might show up and do it for you just to be nice.

8a) When you run to the drug store, you'd better make sure you look decent. You will never make a trip without running into at least one person you know.
8b) The same goes for the grocery store, the doctor's office, the post office, the library, the nail salon, the hair sylist, etc.

9a) Small towns are primo for finding volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer to be a firefighter, an EMT, a water rescue diver, a HAZMAT technician, a SWAT team medic, an animal rehabilitator or pretty much anything else that suits your fancy. You'll also get all the required training that goes along with the job, for free.
9b) You'll have every friend of a friend asking you to check their blood pressure, come smell their furnace for dangerous fumes or take a peek at their pet, also for free.

10a) You can look out in the back yard and see two dozen deer eating the wild apples growing from the trees or the same number of wild turkeys pecking your field for corn in the fall.
10b) You can also clearly whiff the fertilizer (i.e., cow doo-doo) on the neighbor's corn field just down the road from your house and hear their rooster crowing at the crack of dawn even on the weekends.

Small towns offer a totally different environment from the ruckus and noise of the city. I've always been a city girl myself, loving the hustle & bustle, the constant activity that goes along with the buildings and street lights. But the longer I live in a rural area, I appreciate the serenity and security it offers my family. There's nothing like having a peaceful, safe feeling when I fall asleep at night, knowing my kids are being raised in the environment that's best for them.

9 of Your THINKS:

Debbie said...

Now that's what I call paradise!

Paula said...

Starbucks, ten miles??? I'd have to move (just joking). Seriously, I'll never complain about our Starbucks again which is about six miles from my house. Sounds like you live in a wonderful place.

calhounfamily said...

kinkade couldn't have painted it better.. hey, its been awhile. give john a hug for me. we live in central pa., so know somthing of the setting you've described. (actually in hobe sound this week) so good to stumble across you guys while doing a search for another olsen..
you have a beautiful family!

keep in touch,
tim, pam, laura, and elizabeth

evelyn said...

You described it perfectly. Whenever I drive up to see you I come up I81 from VA to NY and see some of the most absolutely beautiful county in the USA. What I realize is that is the majority of the country...the cities take up less space. It's the country, the beach, the mountains that give respite to those that live in the city...the breath of fresh air before they go back to the daily grind of the city. They envy those of us tht live in a more rural area. On the other hand...we that live in that "paradise" go hopping off to the city to chase around for a week or two in the summer...seeing the sites and returning home exhausted thinking how great it would be to always be surrounded by city glitz...yet secretly smiling when we know we won't be in a traffic jam!!!!!

evelyn said...

You described it perfectly. Whenever I drive up to see you I come up I81 from VA to NY and see some of the most absolutely beautiful county in the USA. What I realize is that is the majority of the country...the cities take up less space. It's the country, the beach, the mountains that give respite to those that live in the city...the breath of fresh air before they go back to the daily grind of the city. They envy those of us tht live in a more rural area. On the other hand...we that live in that "paradise" go hopping off to the city to chase around for a week or two in the summer...seeing the sites and returning home exhausted thinking how great it would be to always be surrounded by city glitz...yet secretly smiling when we know we won't be in a traffic jam!!!!!

R*belle said...

Great post! We don't have Starbucks here either so I don't get the fascination!

utenzi said...

That does indeed sound quite rural, Jen. I grew up in the Adirondacks so I know how rural parts of NY state can be. I went to school over in the Western tier so I know the area by PA and above NJ is quiet also. Lots of empty territory in NY and yet so many people down by the Big Apple.

mary ellen said...

First me, then later we, always enjoyed coming to your house some weekends while living near New York City when we lived up there - very accurate description I must say!

Moonshadow said...

Oh, yeah, harvest festivals. We had the onion festival growing up near Elba (route 98 north of Batavia). Onions are not as nice as strawberries.

Recently I was returning to my home in NJ after a visit to Rochester. I started to head south along R81 but forgot to fill up the gas tank before leaving that East-West "civilization" along the Thruway! I got to a station in Marathon just in time! Whew. Because, as you say, the cell phone just don't work in those parts of the state!