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Life in a Small TownPosted Sunday, November 11, 2007, at 8:46 PM
We're always talking about the differences between the regions where we live. These characteristics of a small town have been bouncing around in my head, and I think the only way to get rid of them in to write them down.
You know you live in a small town when:
The people you grew up with all know your middle name, because they remember your mother shouting, "Billy Bob Bennett - You get home this minute!"
Everyone knows what church you belong to.
Directions are given as follows: "Well, you know where Juanita Holder lives, don'tcha? It's catty-cornered across the street from her."
Or even better - "You know where Doc Campbell's office used to be? Well, the NSC office is right across the street."
Or even better - "You remember the old car wash that used to be the turn-around on the cruise strip? Well, the NSC office in it that building."
A long line of traffic forms behind very large farm machinery going through town.
A "long line" consists of three cars.
Everybody waves at the Chief of Police, parked in the old gym parking lot, watching traffic. Only outsiders or teenagers speed.
Everybody reads the police report for news of their relatives and the kids of their friends.
Social events revolve around the school and are scheduled to avoid the refinishing of the old and new gym floors.
All the town meetings are coordinated, so they don't conflict.
You can call anyone in the phone book with the same last name, and they're all related, so they tell you the right number.
When a new name is mentioned, the conversation stops until everyone can be briefed on who they're related to. This discussion goes back several generations.
The closest place to buy live bait is in Arab.
When a dog is loose, everyone knows who it belongs to.
An auction is the height of the social season.
There are no traffic lights and the City Council removes two of the four stop signs on what used to be the main drag through town.
The only traffic after six p.m. is on the teenager's cruise strip.
A stranger can come into town and get directions to anyone's house by asking some old guy raking leaves in his front yard. All they need is a first name.
There are very few "secrets," as everybody knows everybody else's business (or at least they think they do).
If you want to know something, ask the "coffee shop crowd," (though I don't know where they'd be, since the Rhodes station closed down!)
I'd love to hear some of your small town descriptors!
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.