I am from a small town in the Appalachian mountains. It’s a quiet place, with 3 small restaurants, a couple of gas stations, a few small businesses, and a Dollar General store. It’s the kind of place where better put a bra on before you go to the store because you’re bound to know everyone in there.
I love my hometown.
But I didn’t always feel this way.
In fact, I hated it for a few good years. When I was in my later high school years, I wanted to get out of this old place. I wanted bigger and better things that I thought this town couldn’t give me. I grew tired of seeing the same people. I wanted a change. I got bored here, and thought that I couldn’t live the kind of life I wanted here.
During college, I took an internship for my dream job. The job took me six hours from home for the summer. The job was near D.C., so I was excited for a big change in an exciting city. Surely I could do bigger and better things there.
At the end of my internship, I came back to my hometown on my knees. As exciting as the city had been, I realized it was no place for me. The big city is good for some people, just as a small town is good for others. To each their own, I say.
My hometown may not sound like much to most people, but it is to me. It’s a small, tight-knit community that makes the residents seem more like extended family than just your neighbors. I like that. You can find half of the town at the high school ballgames on any given night. And most likely, they’ll be sitting in the same spots every game. And you can always bet your bottom dollar that Teddy’s will be packed on Sundays after church, but you’ll always somehow magically find a seat. And, like clockwork on Saturday mornings, the old timers fill the gas stations to talk about sports and farming.
It’s so funny how my priorities have changed. I used to think I couldn’t live the kind of life I wanted here in my hometown. And now, I really don’t think I could live the life I want anywhere else. All I want now is to live a simple, happy life surrounded by the people that I love. I crave a slow paced life, so I can take in every second of God’s blessings. I like going to Teddy’s (a good ole’ restaurant in town) and talking to so many people I know that I barely finish my food. And I like going to ballgames and looking through the crowd seeing generations of families who have sat in the same spot on the bleachers for years. And I like walking in the gas stations on Saturday mornings, and having the old-timers ask me if PB is feeling better.
It’s easy to look down on small towners. I found this to be so true when I moved away that summer. I became accustomed to the blank stares when I talked about my hometown. It’s easy to think we’re small minded. And it’s probably easy to think we are less worldly or cultured than most folks.
But I’m okay with that. Although I don’t think it’s true, I also know I can’t change stereotypes. At this point in my life, I’m happy be to called small minded or less worldly or cultured. If that means that my son can grow up in a place where I’m not afraid to let him play outside by himself, then call me small minded every day. After all, it’s not those types of things that are most important in this life anyway.
So today is Thursday, and I’m thankful for my sweet little hometown. I’m thankful for the loving, caring community that I’m proud to be a part of. It’s so much a part of who I am, and what I want from life. Although most people probably don’t see it this way, I think I’m blessed beyond belief to be here. I think Ben’s agrees. It only took one time for him to pee off of our back porch to realize how lucky we are.
Have a blessed Thursday 🙂