I live in a small town. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Small town living comes with luxuries some people from larger communities will never understand.
We don’t drive for an hour to get to a place to play. Small towners just play. That means a couple of minutes by bike, car or on foot to a favourite swimming hole, a park, a place to ski or run, the bike or skateboard park, the curling rink, the arena, the library, the art gallery or some event held almost always by people we know and admire for their enthusiasm and talent.
To say it annoys me when people from larger centres look down on people from small towns would be an understatement. We might be small town, but we are not small-minded. There are people here who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, athletes, world travellers, inventors, philanthropists, artists, authors, CEOs, politicians, moms and dads, teachers, nurses, and all sorts of amazing and respected professionals. Does that make us small town?
There are people who live here from Scotland, Ireland, England, Slovakia, the Phillipines, Australia, Korea, China and many other countries Does that make us small town?
There are people here who have seen the Great Wall of China, prayed in India, been on African safaris, hiked in the Grand Canyon, zip-lined through rain forests, sailed the Caribbean, skied the Alps, backpacked through Europe, been on cattle drives through breathtaking scenery, hiked over the heritage trails of our ancestors, competed in extreme sports, danced in front of a crowded house, rocked an audience with their musical talent, saved lives, braved storms, gave their all, become survivors, done the impossible and really lived. Does that make us small town?
Small town is not a dirty word to those who live in one, but a place to thrive. Small town doesn’t mean we are stupid, unsophisticated, poorly educated, or less. It means we have made a choice to bring our lives down a notch from worrying about what the Jones have, to worrying about if our mountain bike will be able to handle the new trail our town built with determination, volunteers and some good-natured competition. It means deciding which group to join and lend a hand with. It means watching your neighbour’s place while he/she is away and not because they asked, but because it’s what they would do.
Small town means people are often forced to work together in very diverse groups. Class barriers are not as clearly marked. People in small town know who scams and who doesn’t. We don’t always need resumes when we apply for jobs, we just need a good reputation.
Small town is full of big dreams and big hearts. A shopping mall and amenities don’t make you better. We are not trapped here. We travel and go to big city shows like Phantom of the Opera, Showboat, The Tragically Hip, Feist, The Dixie Chicks and whomever and whatever we want to. We do and see. Small town is about having our cake and eating it too. Does that make us small town? …count me in.