Home. When I think of home, I think of the small town with endless rows of orange trees and pastures full of cows. I can still smell the orange blossoms right outside my window, and the fresh country air. Partly because I found myself back here three years ago, and also, that’s a memory you carry with you your entire life. You could pass through my hometown in the blink of an eye. Seriously, the town I grew up in has one stoplight. It’s one of those places you either love the rest of your life and embrace it, or you take the first plane out of there and never look back. I have a love/hate relationship with this particular spot on the map.
No matter how much we try to deny it, or run from it the place we grew up will always have a place within our hearts. It helps shape us and mold us into the person we have become. I am a first hand example of this. I hated the small town gossip. Everyone is your best friend on social media, but if they see you in line at the grocery store they act like they don’t know you. Typical. However, I’m thankful for those people and those instances. They have taught me that no matter what people may say about me, or how they treat me, they do NOT effect who I am as a person. It’s made me strong, it’s made me tough, but it’s also taught me to appreciate the good with the bad. Us small town residents share a common bond. No matter the population, I feel like there are just certain key notes everyone from a small town can relate to.
1. Be careful how you treat people.
People do NOT forget how you made them feel, especially when they turn out to be your child’s teacher, or the cop who pulls you over for going double the speed limit. Not that I speed or anything, I’m just speaking metaphorically of course. Aside from those potential instances, it’s so important to treat people kindly. I still remember people that made me feel differently because I didn’t have a certain last name, or snub me when I would go into a store. I grew up thankful for those people who didn’t let me forget who I was, because they made embrace my identity.
2. Have pasture, will party.
I can count on one hand the times I went to a house party during all my years of teenage stupidity. As long as someone had a pasture and something flammable to start a bonfire, we were set. I can’t even recall how many pairs of shoes I lost from walking through mud, or how many times I got my car stuck, but I do know that’s where everyone was on the weekend. I’m glad my memory fails me at times trying to recall those nights, but I was left with stories and memories I wouldn’t trade for anything.
3. Loyalty was born on a Friday night.
My hometown bleeds orange and blue and loyalty was spread through football season I wish at times I could go back to those Friday night lights, touchdowns, and pom poms. It didn’t matter if it was a home game or two hours away, our small town population would make it to every game. There was no question or hesitation, everyone just showed up and cheered their hearts out.
4. There’s always an attraction along the road.
Like a man smoking a cigar while driving a tractor down the road, and my grandpa was probably the one driving it. You see all sorts of stuff going through town like tractors, lawn mowers, and occasionally even a lady walking down the main road in a bikini and high heels. Get your Snapchat ready people! We don’t even have to pay for good entertainment, we just take a drive along the main highway.
5. “Hey, I know you!”
You will always be known as someone’s granddaughter, daughter, or sister. I still get referred to as my families “baby”, even though I’m 25 and have a baby of my own. I don’t mind though, because everyone you seem to run into has a story or a memory of a family member that you can hold onto. My grandparents were both blessed enough to own a small business in town and hearing how they helped people, and the impact they made, makes me so proud to live here.
6. There is no “Girl Code”.
Dating. The smaller the town, the smaller the sea. It’s actually the size of a puddle, a very very small puddle. You might eventually date a friend’s ex, and that can just make things a bit awkward. I’ve learned it’s always best to be upfront about those kind of situations. He might look like Charlie Hunnam, but don’t let that make you a crappy friend! Ovaries before Bro-varies!
7. Did you hear?!
News in a small town travels faster than Amazon Prime. You shave your eyebrows off one night at a party, and BOOM! Your mom is waiting at the door ready to ground you for all eternity. This is both a blessing and a curse. Of course, when it’s gossip it totally and completely sucks! You’d just wish everyone would mind their own, but then there are those occasions that you’re thankful for people being so curious. If there’s ever a passing of a family member or a tragedy, you have half of the neighborhood at your front door and 10 hams sitting on your counter. The love and support, the really good parts, that always makes me thankful to be from a small town.
8. You always have a place to come back to.
Maybe this doesn’t just apply to small towns, it might apply to every city in the world. However, I know from experience that NOTHING compares to home. Driving familiar roads, seeing familiar faces, and having my family around THAT is what feels like home to me. I may complain about it every now and then, but I always find myself coming home.
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