I’m spending part of the week in small town America these days, beginning the transition of living in two places on this new adventure for which we’ve embarked.
Last night, reality was in full force when our young-something waitress was in a lively conversation with her supervisor and lo! and behold, she used the word, “hootenanny” in a sentence and thought nothing of it.
Well, I’ll be durned and geewhillikers.
Pretty soon, I’ll be sayin’ “I seen this,” and “I seen them” and “Ain’t that purty.”
Speaking of “ain’t that purty,” yes, it sure-as-shootin’ was, that there sunset last night.
Driving back to the hotel from the restaurant, it kind of looked like this:
And yesterday morning when the curtain was opened at 6 am, this was our experience:
I love the city. I love the busy-ness and the plethora of things to do and the sights and the sounds and the fun of rooting for the hometown Royals and the ease of going through a drive-thru and running a quick errand to go and get the smallest of items. I love that our church is so big and offers just about every kind of ministry there is and the services are always perfectly done and the message is rarely spot-OFF. I love the walking trails and the manicured lawns everywhere and the hustle and bustle of the landscapers who make all things beautiful. I love the convenience of convenience, the car wash just down the street that doesn’t require a person to exit the vehicle and offers free vacuuming and oil change/tire shops and local dentists and doctors and fresh gorgeous fruits and vegetables that are piled high in the grocery store less than two minutes from our driveway.
All of these things are goodness. And all of these things are not here in small town America.
But there is another kind of goodness here, and I’ve already begun to appreciate. Like the town festival that included the silliest, sweetest parade of children dressed in costumes and riding their tricycles and bicycles and motorized Barbie cars and one little go-kart, the littlest members being pulled in red wagons by their daddies or a dolled-up high school dance team girl. The town festival where everybody knows your name. The town festival where children run free in the middle of Main street and the town’s prosperous have food booths next to the youth group selling pop and 4-H and scouts selling homemade ice cream and pies. I’ve seen, I mean “I seen” neighbors helping neighbors, golf carts and riding lawnmowers used as a means of downtown transportation, passers-by waving like they know ya, a new neighbor offering a rototiller, everyone “pitching in” because that’s just what you do, the kindness of an employee who offered to show me where the restroom was located inside the American Legion building, the boy Nicholas who appeared in bare feet and sopping wet from being in the dunk tank with two pieces of pie just for us “because you were nice to me,” and the large group of people from adults down to little 3-year-old Dani, dancing to the Cupid Shuffle in the middle of Main Street under the streetlights after dark on a Saturday night, while a proud veteran sat in his motorized scooter and watched the fun.
I’ll have to drive over an hour to get the beautiful almost yellow bananas with no brown spots and my Pink Lady or Honey Crisp apples with no bruises. I’ll have to watch online if I want that message from home church. I’ll have to break down and buy a car wash mitt and do it myself. I’ll have to plan ahead for last minute items that the local dollar store does not carry. I’ll have to postpone my “need” for a quick drive-thru burger or iced tea. I’ll have to learn how to cook again. I’ll have to step out of my comfortable and get to know the neighbors for real. I’ll have to drag a vacuum on wheels out of the house if I want a clean car on the inside.
I’ll have to sit on the front porch and watch the world go by with an iced tea in hand, or walk into church on a Sunday morning and sit down at the piano because it’s my Sunday, or take an early morning or evening walk to catch the brilliance of the rising and setting sun, or be on a first name basis with Buzz or Doc or Newt, names that just fit in small town America.
Yes, I have arrived, kind of. And I am grateful.