I’m a city girl, but a part of me has always loved that small town, country part of life. I always wondered what it would be like to grow up in a place where everybody knew you by name, and everywhere you went felt familiar and safe. When my sister and I were little, my mom and my aunt would take us to antique stores or flea markets out in the country, far from home, and I secretly loved these excursions. It was an escape from the ordinary and things like the hot cocoa at the diner inside the antique mall, or the dingy smell of old books – well, it was kind of a little piece of heaven. It took us away from our city living, and introduced us to a slower, calmer part of life, even if it was just for a few hours on a Sunday.
I definitely don’t live in a small town, but as I took a trip to the bank yesterday, I was inspired to do this blog. I found a lot of areas in my life that actually remind me of the small town effect.
As a freelancer, we don’t have direct deposit, of course, so I find myself at the bank at least once a week. As I pulled up to the tube yesterday and dropped my check in, the woman came over the speaker and said “Hi Tara, how are you today?” I could see that my check had not yet reached her desk, so she knew my face, my name?! I guess I am there pretty often, but I wasn’t expecting that, and it was a nice surprise. No longer are my trips to the bank just a mundane task, it’s a place to say hi to a familiar face.
Although I don’t know my mail woman by name, (I’m going to ask her today) I do talk to her often. I usually take the baby out with me to get the mail, or wave to the truck as she’s driving by, and she always stops to chat. She has watched the baby grow and she makes comments on how big he’s getting, or how cute his outfit is that day. She lets me know if there’s any community news, or to watch out for the dog in the yard on whatever street, since they bark a lot. That’s priceless information I can’t get from any app and would much rather get from a familiar face.
And lastly, when we take our walks, just a few doors up from us, I encounter the older man who sits on his front porch swing. He always hollers hello, tells me about his granddaughter, and how he misses his wife who sadly passed away. He lets me know if the weather is calling for rain, so I know not to go too far, and he always flashes a smile that makes my day. He seems lonely, stating often that he doesn’t get to see his granddaughter as much as he’d like, so maybe seeing my son gives him that little spark he needs to get through his day.
The world is full of strangers, we forget to talk to people, tell them our name. We may go into the same coffee shop every day, and order the same drink, but do we know the person behind the counter? Wouldn’t it be a nicer start to the day if we could have a conversation with them? If going to get coffee in the morning became less of a hassle, and more of a friendly encounter to get us going on a positive note?
Even though my small town is really quite large, I feel like I do have some places where everybody knows my name. ‘Cheers’ to that!