I come from a town of 600 people, how many of those people actually live in the town and not in the country, I have no idea. I live three miles outside of town in the middle of a cornfield (literally in the middle of the cornfield). My elementary class had nine kids in it and I could tell you each kid’s middle name, parent’s name, parent’s occupation, where they lived, what kind of car they drove, who their siblings were, and their birthday because we were such a small class. When it was time to graduate eighth grade and go to high school, I wasn’t capable of going to the high school in my town. The high school was deactivated when I was in seventh grade because there were so few kids enrolled. So instead I had the choice of three high schools and traveled sixteen miles there and back for four years. My graduating class had thirty kids in it and most of the students had been together since Kindergarten. While we were such a small school and lots of times we got annoyed with one another, we were still extremely close. We took part in sports, FFA, FCCLA, and youth group together, we sat in the same classrooms together, and we hung out with one another on weekends together. When we graduated, we went all over the place for college and work but still remain friends with the people we went to school with.
In town there are very select things to do. There’s the gas station to catch up on gossip, fuel up your truck, and grab a bite to eat or the barbershop (*only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays) to drink coffee and discuss grain prices. If you feel like going out on the weekend, you can choose from the two bars in town or take the kids to see whatever movie is playing at the one screen theater in the next town over. Maybe you need to run some errands that day so you can go to the post office, print shop, pick up some ammo for hunting season, and take your car to the mechanic while you wait for your kids to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office. During harvest, the trucks are going in and out of the grain elevator and in the spring farmers are lining up to have their fields sprayed. If a part happens to break on their tractor or combine, there is always the welding shop for help and when it comes time to expand the farm they can count on the numerous construction companies to build a quality shop. We are not a huge town and there aren’t many extracurriculars, but we get by just fine.
I love my small town and I have learned to appreciate it even more now that I’ve moved off to college. It is where I played on the playground as a kid, cruised my car as a teenager, and it is the place I’m most thankful for as a somewhat-adult. The town is filled with people who helped raise me and would still help me out today. I can count on the town firefighters and EMTs to keep me safe, the teachers to help the kids in and out of school, and the community to cheer me on. Even though there are thousands of articles praising how amazing their small town are, I had to share my story because every small town needs to be appreciated.