Town brings the feeling of heart and home coming together, doesn't it? The idea of 'town' makes me think of tiny little burgs tucked in among the woods with church steeples and kids riding bikes, and old poops gathering in the local diner for coffee. And whether where you live has your heart or not, there should be a place on this planet that does. If you're not feeling it, for heaven’s sake, find it.
Small towns are the backbone of this planet and what makes them are the people that inhabit them. Let's face it, there are some quirky characters in our towns. We all know them, and they know us. You never really know on which side of quirky you stand in the eyes of others. I can think of a few as I grew up and I believe that here, we don't discard each other as much as we might if it was easier for us all to get lost in a crowd.
When I think of my small town, I relive the push and pull of it. Growing up, I could think of no place better, but never felt it would be my forever home. I lived away for a few years and then circumstances brought me back. Still, I thought of it as a temporary situation, but it wasn't. For a long time, I never truly appreciated small town life, but as the wisdom of, I hate to say it - age - set in, I finally realized the value of here, this place, this small town.
We share a place on this planet that is small and large all at the same time. Bring up Google Earth and you will see the tiny speck we are in relation to this huge, beautiful planet. But then, on the other hand, look at the treasures we offer to those who do not want to live in a city, who do not want to raise their children among the throngs of city dwellers. There is a place for us small towners; a place to enjoy the big sky at night, see in real time the toil of our farmers, toss in a line at the end of a work day, shoosh through the snow on a weekend, let the beauty of nature inspire us.
There are so many places we could have landed, but we're here. Why? Is it some divine plan within the cosmos, the simple science of ancestry, or just plainly how life worked itself out? Either way, as Dolly Parton once said, you gotta grow where you're planted.
You know the greatest thing about a small town? The way we come together for those experiencing the things in life we hope never cross our paths. I have been at many fundraisers and benefits, and have been nearly brought to tears over the way we all come together, the enthusiasm to do what we can, the generosity of our neighbors.
You may not have thought of her in awhile, but there is the case of Jayme Closs. I was no prouder to be a small town Wisconsinite than when she experienced her tragedy...and triumph. The town of Barron wrapped its arms around her and held on tight. And I know they will for years to come. That is not unusual in a small town.
We are struggling here in the Northwoods. It's a scary time when our businesses are not employing the numbers they once were. All we can do is be a community, a small town, and hold those affected in our hearts and our minds and simply care. The stronger we are together, the harder it is to take us down!